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IDA & AGC Seek Second Round Views on Proposed Spam Control Bill for Singapore

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), in collaboration with the Attorney-General's Chambers of Singapore (AGC), has today issued a second public consultation paper on the proposed Spam Control Bill in ...

Singapore, 12 September 2005 | For Immediate Release

1. The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), in collaboration with the Attorney-General's Chambers of Singapore (AGC), has today issued a second public consultation paper on the proposed Spam Control Bill in Singapore. The first public consultation was conducted in May last year to seek feedback on the proposed spam control legislative framework. This second round exercise seeks to gather feedback on the draft Spam Control Bill for Singapore and provides increased clarity on what constitutes spam. In addition, the draft Bill includes mobile spam and proposes that civil rights and remedies be granted to anyone who suffers loss or damage from non-compliant spam.

Key Features of Proposed Spam Bill

2. The proposed Spam Control Bill includes, in addition to email spam, legal measures to manage mobile spam in Singapore. The Bill also proposes that anyone who suffers damages or loss arising from spam be given the right to initiate legal action against non-compliant spammers1. The draft Bill also proposes that if found guilty, non-compliant spammers can be directed by the court to stop their spamming activities or pay damages to the affected parties.

Inclusion of Mobile Spam in Proposed Legislation

3. Given Singapore's high mobile penetration rate and the prevalent usage of mobile messaging here, IDA had consulted both the mobile telephone operators and mobile telephone marketers and examined the economics involved in mobile spamming. While IDA recognises that the cost of sending mobile spam may be sufficient to deter indiscriminate mobile spamming, it is also aware of the difficulty for any mobile user to switch his mobile phone number for the purpose of avoiding mobile spam. The physical closeness and personal attachment of the mobile phone to the user further amplifies the negative effects caused by indiscriminate mobile spam activities.

4. As such, IDA and AGC have included mobile spam in the Spam Control Bill. Mobile spam includes unsolicited, commercial electronic messages such as short text, graphics, video clips or sound files, sent to any mobile telecommunication devices. Consistent with email spam, an opt-out approach is recommended for mobile spam. The exclusion of unsolicited fax transmissions and telemarketing from the proposed Bill remains.

Civil Rights and Remedies

5. The proposed Bill also allows anyone who suffers damages arising from non-compliant email and mobile spam, the right to take legal action against the spammers. It was previously proposed that only service providers or organisations which operate its own servers could do so. As with all other legal proceedings, damages will need to be proven by the affected party before a court case can commence.

6. Civil suits can also be brought against non-compliant spammers or persons responsible for sending spam via the use of dictionary attacks and address harvesting software2. If such persons are proven guilty, the court can order them to stop their spamming-related activities. They can also be made to pay damages amounting to the loss or damage suffered by the affected party or statutory damages of up to S$25 per spam message subject to a maximum cap of S$1 million.

Public Consultation Exercise

7. In line with the objective of being transparent, IDA welcomes all views and comments from the public as well as the industry on the draft Spam Control Bill. All feedback should be submitted in writing to reach IDA not later than 12 noon, Singapore time on 14 October 2005. The public consultation paper can be downloaded from,  under the sections "Policy & Regulation", "Papers", "Consultation Papers".


Notes to Editor:

1 Non-compliant spammers refer to message senders who do not adhere to the requirements for the sending of bulk email and mobile messages. These would include the requirements that message titles be prefixed with " " and an accurate and functional email address or phone number be provided via which the recipient could send an unsubscribe request to.

2 Dictionary attacks are defined as methods by which the email address or telephone number of a recipient is obtained via automated means of generating possible email addresses or telephone numbers by combining names, letters or numbers into numerous permutations. Address harvesting refers to the act of using software specifically designed to search the Internet for email addresses and telephone numbers and collect, compile, capture or harvest those addresses.

About Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is committed to growing Singapore into a dynamic global infocomm hub. IDA uses an integrated approach to developing infocommunications in Singapore. This involves nurturing a competitive telecoms market as well as a conducive business environment with programmes and schemes for both local and international companies.

For media clarification, please contact:

Ms Noraizah Zainal Abidin
Manager, Corporate and Marketing Communication
Fax: +65 6211-2227