Amendments to Computer Misuse Act proposed

SINGAPORE - A Bill was put forward in Parliament today to amend section 15A of the Computer Misuse Act to allow for effective and timely measures against cyber threats that may endanger national interests or national security.

The key amendment will enable the Minister for Home Affairs to direct Singapore's national critical information infrastructure (CII) owners to take effective and timely measures against cyber threats. National Critical Information Infrastructure (CII) refers to the various essential information systems and assets, such as telecommunication networks, banking infrastructure, water, electricity, gas and public transportation systems.

Under the amendment, the Minister will be able to direct CII owners to prevent, detect or counter any cyber attack that may threaten the national security, essential services, defence or foreign relations of Singapore.

Not acting on the directions of the Minister will be made a criminal offence.

Other amendments to the Act include protecting the information obtained by the Minister through the introduction of legal safeguards and imposing restrictions on its use and disclosure.

In addition, those who had complied with the Minister's direction may be granted civil and criminal liability.

The amendments are in line with similar moves by other countries. Cyber attacks worldwide have increased in frequency, speed and sophistication. They are difficult to detect, and
often occur without early warning.

The Bill will also modify the definition of “essential services” to include land transport infrastructure, aviation, shipping and other health services.

Currently, essential services refer to communications infrastructure, banking and finance, public utilities, public transportation, public key infrastructure and emergency services such as police, civil defence or medical services.

cynloh@sph.com.sg

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