The Online Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act 2022 (Act), which aims to enhance online safety for Singapore users, commenced on 1 February 2023. The Act amends the Broadcasting Act 1994 (Broadcasting Act) and regulates egregious content on online communication services (OCSs).
Under the Act, the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) can issue directions to regulate access to egregious content found on OCSs. The Act imposes a duty on every OCS provider (or internet access service provider) to take all reasonably practicable steps to comply with such directions.
The IMDA may issue the following types of directions:
OCS refers to an electronic service that is specified in the Fourth Schedule of the Act and excludes electronic services such as short messaging service, multimedia messaging service or internet access service. As a start, the Act only specifies social media services under the scope of OCSs. A social media service is defined under the Act as a service that satisfies all the following characteristics:
The IMDA may designate OCSs with significant reach or impact as Regulated Online Services (ROCs). An ROC may be required to comply with additional obligations, imposed through Codes of Practice, including the implementation of appropriate systems or processes to mitigate and manage the risks of Singapore users arising from content on the ROC’s service.
Egregious content includes content that:
At this time, the IMDA has published a draft Code of Practice for Online Safety (Online Safety Code), which specifies the outcomes that ROCs must meet to enhance online user safety and to control the spread of harmful content on their service. For example, the draft Online Safety Code may require an ROC to put in place measures to minimise children’s exposure to harmful and inappropriate content through reasonable and proportionate measures such as establishing community guidelines and standards. The draft Online Safety Code is expected to be issued in the second half of 2023 and will be accompanied by a set of guidelines illustrating the categories of harmful content.
The Online Safety Code is expected to be issued in the second half of 2023 along with guidelines outlining the types of harmful content. OCS providers will need to adhere to the online safety requirements under the Act and continue to keep abreast of developments in this area.
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Disclaimer: This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal advice.