Singapore is one of the most-connected countries in the world, with high broadband and mobile phone penetration. IMDA is mindful of the dynamic and borderless nature of the Internet and the need for the responsible use of this medium. In light of this, IMDA adopts a pragmatic and balanced approach in regulating the Internet.
Internet Regulatory Framework
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Internet Content Providers (ICPs) in Singapore are regulated through the Broadcasting (Class Licence) Notification (98.42KB). They are required to abide by the conditions stated in the Internet Class Licence and ensure that content offered complies with the Internet Code of Practice (49.90KB).
Our key focus is on content issues of concern to Singapore such as those relating to public interest, race, religion, pornography and content harmful to children. As a symbolic statement of our societal values, local ISPs are required to restrict public access to a limited number of mass impact websites which contain content that the community regards as offensive or harmful to Singapore's racial and religious harmony, or against national interest. The majority of the websites on the list are pornographic in nature.
IMDA does not restrict or monitor individuals’ access to online content. Neither does IMDA regulate webpages operated by individuals and personal communications such as email and instant messaging.
Unauthorised websites which promote, facilitate or advertise remote gambling are blocked under Section 20(1) of the Ministry of Home Affairs’ Remote Gambling Act. The regulation of remote gambling activities under the Act serves to maintain law and order and protect young persons and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by remote gambling. More details can be found on MHA’s website.
In addition to regulations, we also recognise the need for public education and in empowering the public to manage their media/Internet consumption. Parents can subscribe to optional Internet filtering services offered by local ISPs for their home and mobile Internet access to help their children surf the Internet safely. In addition, stand-alone filtering software from Internet filtering solutions companies are available in the market.
Three-Pronged Approach to Regulation
IMDA adopts a three-pronged approach involving the Government, industry partners and members of public. The approach comprises the following:
Instituting a balanced and pragmatic framework
IMDA's regulatory framework for the Internet is embodied in the Broadcasting (Class Licence) Notification (98.42KB). Under the Internet Class Licence, Internet Content Providers and Internet Service Providers are deemed automatically licensed and have to observe and comply with the Internet Class Licence Conditions and the Internet Code of Practice (49.90KB), which outlines what the community regards as offensive or harmful to Singapore.
Encouraging industry self-regulation
The industry is encouraged to self-regulate and be socially responsible for their content. IMDA encourages content providers in Singapore to develop industry codes of practice which can be used to promote greater industry self-regulation and complement existing Internet content regulations.
Promoting media literacy and cyber wellness through public education
IMDA recognises the need to educate the public on both the advantages as well as the downsides of the information superhighway. In view of this, IMDA initiates programmes to promote media literacy and the discerning use of the media including the promotion of cyber wellness.
To take such efforts further, the Media Literacy Council (MLC) was formed in August 2012 to spearhead public education programmes and initiatives on media literacy and cyber wellness. As its Secretariat, IMDA supports the Council's programmes to build awareness of media and digital literacy issues and promote responsible online participation.
Internet Filtering Requirement
Internet Access Service Providers (IASPs) such as SingTel, StarHub, and M1 are required under the Internet Class Licence to offer optional Internet filtering services to their subscribers at the point of subscription or renewal of their fixed residential Internet access subscriptions and mobile Internet access subscriptions. As the filtering services are optional, parents have to opt for or sign up for the filtering services if they want them.
The Internet filters which are offered by the IASPs can serve as one of the security tools to assist parents in blocking such content online.
How to sign up?
The IASPs currently offer optional filtering services for home broadband and select mobile Internet services. Parents who have already subscribed to the Internet, and are now interested in getting the Internet filters may enquire directly with their respective IASPs for more information.