MPs discuss “shrill” content and privacy concerns as part of proposed law to strengthen online security | Media Pyro


SINGAPORE: Members of Parliament on Tuesday (Nov 8) raised questions about how authorities will determine what content is considered “outrageous” and why private messages will not be regulated under a bill aimed at tackling harmful online content available in Singapore .

First introduced on October 3, the Internet Safety (Various Amendments) Bill will empower the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) to deal with harmful online content available to Singapore users, regardless of where the content is hosted or created.

Currently, Singapore’s Broadcasting Act does not apply to organizations operating outside the country.

Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday, Communications and Information Minister Josephine Teo said Singapore’s laws must evolve with the internet.

“If such harmful content existed only on websites, IMDA could deal with it under the existing Broadcasting Act. But today, users are more likely to consume content from the feeds of social media services, where such malicious content can enter through algorithms and quickly spread through our social networks,” she said.

“The entities that control the largest and most popular online communications services or platforms available in Singapore all operate outside of Singapore and are outside the legal purview of the Broadcasting Act.

“To ensure the safety of Singaporean users of these services and platforms, we must be able to take appropriate action against these organizations if they provide content that is accessible to Singaporean users,” she added.

While Ms Teo did not name the social media services that would be covered by the code of practice, she said the MCI had involved Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and HardwareZone in the code and that they were “receptive” to the proposals. .


During the discussion of the new draft law, people’s deputies asked what “shrill content” is.

Under the proposed legislation, IMDA will be empowered to issue guidelines on “outrageous content”, including blocking access to Singapore users and stopping the transmission of content to Singapore users through other channels or accounts.

Indecent content will be defined in the law to include the promotion of terrorism, suicide and self-harm, physical or sexual abuse and the sexual exploitation of children. It will also include content that poses a threat to public health or that may cause racial or religious disharmony in Singapore.

Member of Parliament Tin Pei Ling (PAP-Macpherson) asked who would judge and decide what content actually crosses the threshold to qualify as “outrageous”.

Member of Parliament Leon Perera (WP-Aljunied) raised concerns about “boxes” and other gambling-like elements in online games that could make children more susceptible to gambling as adults. He said he hopes warning labels on games can be included in the proposed law.


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