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SINGAPORE


Pillar Technical standards applied to ICT goods, products and online services  |  Sub-pillar Self-certification for product safety
Singapore's Infocomm Development Authority accepts equipment registration for many types of telecommunications and radio equipment, though registration is voluntary for some categories of equipment. The company filing the registration must be a local company with a valid IMDA dealer's license. Registrations are typically based on foreign standard test reports to declare conformity to IMDA's technical standards. IMDA also accepts equipment certification by local or foreign certification bodies recognised by IMDA under a phase II mutual recognition arrangement.
The Singapore Accreditation Council (SAC) works closely with other international bodies on Mutual Recognition Arrangements (MRAs) to allow signatories to mutually recognise reports and certificates issued by an accredited Conformity Assessment Body (CAB) as equivalent to their own standards.

SINGAPORE

Since October 1994, as amended in May 2013

Pillar Content access  |  Sub-pillar Licensing schemes for digital services and applications
Broadcasting Act
In 2013, the Media Development Authority of Singapore issued guidelines for the Broadcasting Act providing that all online news websites that provide regular reports on Singapore and have significant reach should acquire an individual license. Additionally, any news website that covers an average of at least one article per week on Singaporean news and current affairs over a period of two months and reaches at least 50,000 unique Internet Protocol addresses in Singapore over the same two-month period requires a special license. Furthermore, the licensed sites must also put up a performance bond of SGD $50,000 (USD 42,000), similar to that required for niche TV broadcasters. The new license requires holders to take down content that breaches certain standards within 24 hours of being notified by the Singaporean government.
Coverage Online news websites

SINGAPORE

Reported in 2021

Pillar Intermediary liability  |  Sub-pillar User identity requirement
Mandatory SIM card registration
It is reported that Singapore imposes an identity requirement for SIM registration. Anyone wanting to purchase a SIM card has to provide their national ID card, or a passport in case of foreigners, to activate a new prepaid SIM card. In addition, SIM cards cannot be activated without biometric identification
Coverage Telecommunications sector

SINGAPORE

Since October 1994, last amended in November 2022
Since July 1996, last amended in June 2020
Since November 1997

Pillar Intermediary liability  |  Sub-pillar Monitoring requirement
Broadcasting Act 1994

Broadcasting (Class Licence) Notification

Internet Code of Practice
The Broadcasting Act includes explicit internet regulations since 1996. Internet content providers and ISPs are licensed as a class and must comply with the act’s Class License Conditions and the Internet Code of Practice. Under this regime, ISPs are required to take “all reasonable steps” to filter any content that the regulator deems “undesirable, harmful, or obscene (Conditions of Class Licence, Section 2A (6), Broadcasting (Class Licence) Notification under the Broadcasting Act (Chapter 28) Section 9). In addition, in accordance with Section 2 of the Internet Code of Practice, licensees shall use their best efforts to ensure that prohibited material is not broadcasted via the Internet to users in Singapore. The Infocommunications Media Development Authority issued the Internet Code of Practice in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 6 of the Broadcasting Act (Cap. 28)
Coverage Internet content providers and ISPs

SINGAPORE

Since April 1987 as amended in December 2014

Pillar Intermediary liability  |  Sub-pillar Safe harbor for intermediaries for copyright infringement
Copyright Act
The Safe Harbour provisions are encapsulated within ss 193B to 193D and ss 252A to 252C of the Copyright Act. In 1999, Singapore made its first amendments to the Copyright Act to introduce various safe harbor defenses for Internet intermediaries as network service providers. Arising from its obligations under the US- Singapore Free Trade Agreement, Singapore further revised in 2014 the safe harbor defenses in the Copyright Act for network service providers.
Coverage Internet intermediaries

SINGAPORE

Since July 2010, as amended in January 2013

Pillar Intermediary liability  |  Sub-pillar Safe harbor for intermediaries for any activity other than copyright infringement
Electronic Transactions Act
The Electronic Transactions Act establishes a safe harbour regime for intermediaries beyond copyright infringements. According to Section 26 of the Act (introduced by the amendment of the Act within the Act 26 of 2012), any network service provider shall not be subject to any civil or criminal liability in respect of “third-party material” in the form of electronic records to which it “merely” “provides access. This exemption of liability is also extended to cover liabilities in respect of data protection obligations with respect to third-party material under the Personal Data Protection Act 2012.
Coverage Internet intermediaries

SINGAPORE

Since 2010

Pillar Domestic Data policies  |  Sub-pillar Requirement to allow the government to access personal data collected
Criminal Procedure Code (Cap. 68)
Pursuant to Section 39 of the Criminal Procedure Code, police officers investigating arrestable offenses may at any time access and search the data of any computer they suspect has been used in connection with the offense. No warrant or special authorization is needed. It is reported that the police have seized electronic devices in relation to several investigations in recent years. Penalties for noncompliance can include a fine of up to S$5,000 (approx. USD 3,700), six months in jail, or both.
Coverage Horizontal

SINGAPORE

Since October 2012, entry into force in July 2014

Pillar Domestic Data policies  |  Sub-pillar Minimum period for data retention
Personal Data Protection Act 2012
Telecom licences granted to operators usually contain data retention requirements, which are on average 12 months. The Infocomm Media Development Authority, IMDA reserves the right to require its licensees to retain records as it may deem necessary.
Coverage Telecommunication sector

SINGAPORE

Since October 2012, entry into force in July 2014

Pillar Domestic Data policies  |  Sub-pillar Requirement to perform an impact assessment (DPIA) or have a data protection officer (DPO)
Personal Data Protection Act 2012
Under Section 11(3), each organisation is required to appoint one or more data protection officers to be responsible to ensure the organisation’s compliance with the Personal Data Protection Act.
Coverage Horizontal

SINGAPORE

Since March 2018
Since December 2017
Since May 2018
Since June 2022

Pillar Cross-border data policies  |  Sub-pillar Participation in trade agreements committing to open cross-border data flows
Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership

Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement

Free Trade Agreement between the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the Republic of Singapore

Digital Economy Agreement between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Republic of Singapore
Singapore has joined agreements with binding commitments to open transfers of data across borders: the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP, Art. 14.11), Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA, Ch. 14 Art. 13), Free Trade Agreement between the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the Republic of Singapore (Art. 9.9) and the Digital Economy Agreement between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Republic of Singapore [Art. 8.61-f(2)].
Coverage Horizontal

SINGAPORE

Since October 2012, entry into force in July 2014

Pillar Domestic Data policies  |  Sub-pillar Framework for data protection
Personal Data Protection Act 2012
The Personal Data Protection Act 2012 (PDPA) provides a baseline standard of protection for personal data in Singapore. It complements sector-specific legislative and regulatory frameworks such as the Banking Act and Insurance Act. It comprises various requirements governing the collection, use, disclosure and care of personal data in Singapore. The Act came into force in different phases and the provisions concerning data protection were enforced from July 2014.
Coverage Horizontal

SINGAPORE

Since October 2012, entry into force in July 2014

Pillar Cross-border data policies  |  Sub-pillar Conditional flow regime
Personal Data Protection Act 2012
An organisation may only transfer personal data outside Singapore if it has taken appropriate steps to ensure that:
- it complies with the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) obligations in respect of the transferred personal data while it remains in its possession or under its control; and
- the recipient outside of Singapore is bound by legally enforceable obligations to provide a standard of protection to the personal data transferred that is comparable to that under the PDPA (Section 26).
An organisation is deemed to have met the second requirement if the individual consents to the transfer of the personal data to the recipient in that country.
Coverage Horizontal

SINGAPORE

Since October 2016

Pillar Telecom infrastructure and competition  |  Sub-pillar Presence of independent telecom authority
Info-communications Media Development Authority Act 2016
According to the Info-communications Media Development Authority Act, the Info‑communications Media Development Authority, the executive authority for supervising and administrating services in the telecommunications sector, is independent from the government in the decision-making process.
Coverage Telecommunications sector

SINGAPORE

Since April 1994

Pillar Telecom infrastructure and competition  |  Sub-pillar Signature of the WTO Telecom Reference Paper
WTO Telecom Reference Paper
Singapore has appended the World Trade Organization (WTO) Telecom Reference Paper to its schedule of commitments.
Coverage Telecommunications sector

SINGAPORE

N/A

Pillar Telecom infrastructure and competition  |  Sub-pillar Functional/accounting separation for operators with significant market power
Lack of mandatory functional separation for dominant network operators
Singapore does not mandate functional separation for operators with significant market power (SMP) in the telecom market. However, accounting separation is required in certain cases (dominant licensees and their related companies).
Coverage Telecommunications sector