[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
LANGUAGES
Chinese
Vietnamese
Indonesian
Burmese
Thai
More
Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 November, 2003, 08:56 GMT
Singapore tackles 'cyber terror'
Singapore skyline
Singapore has witnessed rising computer crime in recent years
Singapore has passed strict new legislation to protect the country's computer systems from attack.

The government has said the legislation was necessary because of the damage that computer hacking can cause.

The laws allow the monitoring of all computer activity and "pre-emptive" action, though an official said they would be used "sparingly".

Some members of parliament said the measures could be open to abuse, with threats to individual liberty.

Instead of a backpack of explosives, a terrorist can create just as much devastation by sending... data into the computer systems
Ho Peng Ke
Senior Minister for Law & Home Affairs

Singapore's Senior Minister of State for Law and Home Affairs, Ho Peng Ke, said the law aimed to fight "cyber terrorism."

He said it would be used mainly against threats to national security and essential services like banking and finance.

"Instead of a backpack of explosives, a terrorist can create just as much devastation by sending a carefully engineered packet of data into the computer systems which control the network for essential services, for example the power stations," Mr Ho said.

Hacking

The new law allows police to take "pre-emptive action" to protect computer networks from unauthorised entry by hackers.

Those found guilty of hacking or defacing a web site could get up to three years in jail, or be fined up to $5,800.

The government has said the measures are necessary because of rising cases of successful hacking - there were just 10 in 2000, but that had risen to 41 last year.

Singapore has been tightening security since last year's Bali bomb attacks in neighbouring Indonesia.

But some MPs said the new law was another aspect of the city state's authoritarian side.

Chin Tet Yung, chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Home Affairs and Law, said that it could become, "an instrument of oppression itself."


SEE ALSO:
Making money from virtually nothing
11 Aug 03  |  Technology
Virtual kingdom richer than Bulgaria
29 Mar 02  |  Science/Nature
Hackers kill off heroes
03 Jan 01  |  Science/Nature
Cyber heroes forced to wait for glory
24 Jul 02  |  Technology
Online communities get real
29 May 03  |  Technology
Gaming 'is good for you'
12 Feb 03  |  Technology


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific