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The National Cybercrime Action Plan (NCAP) sets out the Government’s key principles and priorities in combating cybercrime. The Plan also details the Government’s ongoing efforts, as well as future plans, to effectively deal with cybercrime.
Four key principles underpin the Government’s strategies to ensure a safe and secure online environment for Singapore:
a. Prevention is key
b. Agile responses are needed to combat the evolving threat of cybercrime
c. Singapore’s criminal justice system must be robust and supported by effective laws
d. Combating cybercrime is a shared responsibility
The NCAP identifies also four key priorities that are:
a. Educating and empowering the public to stay safe in cyberspace
b. Enhancing the Government’s capacity and capability to combat cybercrime
c. Strengthening legislation and the criminal justice framework
d. Stepping up partnership and international engagement.
State of cybercrime legislation
There are several pieces of domestic legislation that deal with cybercrime in Singapore, from traditional penal statutes such as the Penal Code, to the more recently enacted Remote Gambling Act. However, the primary statutes used are:
- Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act of 2007 (Chapter 50A)
- Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity (Amendment) Bill of 2017 (Bill No. 15/2017)
The Computer Misuse Act (the CMA) is Singapore’s fundamental law that deals with matter related to cybercrimes. It was introduced in 1993. The Singapore cyber attacks in 2013 were a major incident which got the government’s attention towards the growing cybercrimes and its direct consequences. Following the 2013 Singapore cyberattacks, in 2007 the Computer Misuse Act was renamed to Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act (CMCA).
On 3 Apr 2017 the Parliament approved the amendments to the CMCA of 2007. The amendmed text looks in line with the Singapore Infocomm Development Authority’s National Cybersecurity Masterplan 2018 and aims to deal with the changing modus operandi with which computer offences are carried out.
The CMCA punishes several offences, including:
1) unauthorised access to computer material;
2) access with intent to commit or facilitate the commission of offence;
3) unauthorised modification of computer material;
4) unauthorised use or interception of computer material;
5) unauthorised obstruction of use of computer; and
6) unauthorised disclosure of access code.
The amended text of the Computer Crimes Act specifies some additional offences, for example
1) Supplying, etc., personal information obtained in contravention of certain provisions.
The aim of this offence is to punish the use of personal information obtained illegally, through hacks for example, to commit or facilitate crimes such as identity fraud. Other examples include the trading of hacked credit card details even though they did not commit the act of hacking to obtain the information.
2) Obtaining, etc., items capable of being used to commit certain offences.
The aim of this offence is to punish the obtaining or retention of items capable to commit CMCA relevant offences, such as accessing a computer illegally, unauthorised modification of computer material, unauthorised use or interception of computer services, etc. This section applies to all items, like computer programs, passwords and access codes that can be used for committing or facilitating certain computer offence.
3) Extraterritorial application of CMCA offences with “serious harm” to Singapore.
This Section expand the applicability of CMCA even if someone commits a criminal act while overseas, against a computer located overseas, but the impact creates “serious harm” in Singapore.
For “serious harm” must be intended as: illness, injury or death of individuals; disruption or serious diminution of public confidence in providing any essential service; disruption or serious diminution of public confidence in the performance of any duty or function or the exercise of any power by the Government, an Organ of State or a statutory board; damage to the national security, defence or foreign relations of Singapore.
4) Amalgamation of charges for CMCA offences
This Section aims to allow the prosecution to amalgamate, as a single charge of one offence, two or more acts that are the same computer offence, and are committed over a 12 month or shirter period in relation to the same computer.
- The Ministry of Home Affair is the authority responsible for responsible for taking pre-emptive measures to prevent cybersecurity threats and directing entities for the same purpose (Section 15A of the CMCA).
- Cyber Security Agency of Singapore
- Singapore Police Force Cybercrime Command
- Centre for Cyber Security Studies
As described in NCAP, Singapore is the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Voluntary Lead Shepherd on Cybercrime, responsible for charting ASEAN’s initiatives against cybercrime.
With the unanimous support of ASEAN Member States, Singapore
established the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime (SOMTC) Working Group on Cybercrime in 2013. The Working Group, chaired by Singapore, provides a platform for the ASEAN Member States to coordinate the regional approach to cybercrime, and work together on capacity building, training and the sharing of information to combat cybercrime.
This is also the platform through which the ASEAN Member States engage ASEAN Dialogue Partners such as the People’s Republic of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea on cybercrime collaboration.
At the international level, Singapore hosts the INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation (IGCI), which is the INTERPOL’s global hub on cybercrime.Singapore’s goal is to leverage INTERPOL’s resources to build global operational networks, capacities and capabilities to tackle cybercrime, especially within Asia
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