The Singaporean government has amended the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act (CMCA). The changes were passed in the Parliament today (April 3), after the amendment bill was introduced in the parliament for the first reading about a month before.
The Amended bill criminalizes the act of dealing and trading in personal information, such as hacking the credit card details. Also, even if they are not involved in trading the information via hacking but facilitate trading of the hacked details, this is also deemed illegal.
The same applies in criminalizing those who obtain, deal, in items that are capable of accessing a computer illegally, or for committing or facilitating a computer offence. Those who purchase or sale of hacking tools, such as malware and port scanners from online marketplaces, will also be included under the act if the intention is criminal.
Under CMCA, if someone commits a criminal act while overseas, against a computer located overseas, it will be considered an offence even if the impact is witnessed here. Therefore, the person will be answerable and subject to further investigation if the causes or creates a significant risk of serious harm in Singapore, where serious harm could be an injury or death or disruptions to essential services.
The amended Bill aimed to combat the rising scale and transnational nature of cyber crimes and to come up with modified tactics for cybercriminals. The MHA had taken into consideration the views and opinions of businesses and professionals in the Internet services and cybersecurity sectors.
MP Murali Pillai said in Parliament that he supports the Bill, but asked if journalists or researchers could face difficulty because of the amended law should they source the information from leaked information derived from hacks.
Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs Desmond Lee replied to this saying there is nothing wrong to report on a hack, or for a researcher to use the leaked information, as long as they do not circulate the personal details that were disclosed through the hack.