tirsdag 5. oktober 2021

Singapore passes law to tackle 'foreign interference,' giving authorities the power to block internet content

Singapore's Parliament has approved a law giving broad powers to the government to deal with foreign interference -- sparking concern from the opposition and experts about its wide scope and limits on judicial review. The small and open city-state, which says it is vulnerable to foreign meddling, targeted fake newswith a far-reaching law in 2019.

The bill, formally known as the Foreign Interference Countermeasures Act (FICA), was passed late Monday local time with 75 members voting in favor, 11 opposition members objecting and two abstaining, local media reported. Among the measures, FICA allows authorities to compel internet and social media service providers, as well as website operators, to provide user information, block content and remove applications. Those deemed or designated as "politically significant persons" under the law will have to comply with strict rules relating to donations and declare their links to foreign entities.

Instead of court, an independent tribunal -- chaired by a judge -- will hear appeals against the minister's decisions, a move the government says is necessary to protect national security.