Government’s Proposed Measures to Enhance Online Safety for Singaporean Users

“In due course,” says the Singapore government in a series of parliamentary feedback that also encompass digital banking service interruptions and cybersecurity measures, the details of the regulatory framework that will try to persuade social media platforms to block access to “harmful” content will be revealed.

Singapore’s Online Codes of Practice

In the meantime, Singapore is considering new legislation that would require social media platforms to block access to content that the country deems detrimental, among other things. So, the next time you access your favorite social media platform on your brand-new iPhone 13, their services might also have a new coat of paint, too.

The usage of hyperlinks in SMS, chats, email or other messaging applications will not be prohibited, but this will not eradicate the potential of phishing attacks on a victim.

There are two suggested Codes of Practice that the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) is working on to enhance the security of social media users in the country.

In order to improve online safety for its users, particularly children and teenagers, the first option calls on social media service providers to implement “system-wide” processes at the upstream level.

“Egregious damaging content,” as defined in the second Code of Practice, would be given the authority to be removed from social media platforms by the regulatory sector Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA).

Such content was found to include self-harm, sexual harm, public safety, and racial or religious intolerance by the authorities.

Eradicating phishing threats

Embedded hyperlinks in SMS and other messaging services have been regarded more seriously by the government. Moreover, they directed banks to remove all hyperlinks from emails and SMS communications sent to customers totally.

Dropping links from SMS, chats, or email just wouldn’t eradicate all the dangers of consumers falling victim to phishing attempts, the Smart Nation Digital Government Group (SNDGG) noted. Such hazards could be mitigated by the implementation of back-end detection technology and preventive techniques.

As part of their evaluation, they’re considering whether or not to force all users of alphanumeric IDs to join the register.

Additionally, telecommunications providers have been putting up measures to prevent fraudulent calls and texts from faking their numbers. According to the government’s statement, SingPass, which citizens are required to access e-government services over the internet, has been updated to include biometric authentication.

Better digital services, fewer disruptions

Moving over scams and threats, online banking services were disrupted in large part due to human mistakes. Since July 2021, the digital banking services of Singapore’s major retail banks have been subject to a few outages.

Following an outage, these banks must now be able to restore systems supporting vital banking services, such as payments and fund transfers, within four hours. In addition, they were permitted a maximum of four hours of unplanned downtown time in any 12-month timeframe.

Felix Wells

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