Do we even know how the Computer Misuse and Cyber Security Act affects our lives? [Informative Post]

What key amendment did the Parliament passed to the Computer Misuse Act in 2013?

One key amendment was to allow the Home Affairs Minister to issue a certificate to authorise a person or an organisation to take measures necessary to prevent, detect or counter cyber attacks.

The certificate could require a person or entity to provide technical information relating to the “design, configuration, operation and security of computers, computer programmes or computer services”.

Mr Iswaran said: “The minister will issue a certificate only after careful consideration of the implications and after being satisfied that the measures are practical and reasonable. These measures will make our CII more robust and resilient to the growing cyber threats we face.”

Non-compliance with the Minister’s directions is also a criminal offence.

Offenders can be fined up to S$50,000 or jailed for no more than 10 years or both. The Amendment Bill also seeks to rename the Act as the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act.

***The Computer Misuse Act was later renamed as Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act in 2013***

What was the reason for doing so? 

The Act was last amended in 2003 to strengthen Singapore’s defence against cyber attacks.

Speaking in parliament, Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade and Industry S Iswaran said the cyber threats of today are highly sophisticated and malicious, so the legislative framework must keep pace with the nature of the evolving cyber threat.

“I want to assure the House that these enhanced powers which come with safeguards will be used judiciously, the powers will be invoked to avert threats that may endanger our national security, essential services, defence or the foreign relations of Singapore,” said Mr Iswaran. 


Parliament passes amendments to Computer Misuse Act (CNA, 24 Jan 2013)

Where can I read up on the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act?


Singapore Statues Online – 50A – Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act

15A Cybersecurity measures and requirements

16 Arrest by police without warrant

What does this key amendment mean in lament terms?

Simply put, if you are suspected of not going to, or do not comply with revealing information to an authorized person or organization under the direction of the Home Affairs minister who has issued a certificate, the worst case scenario is that you can be arrested without warrant, jailed for up to 10 years, and be made to pay $50,000 as fine.

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