The Ministry of Communications and Information tabled the Online Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill for its first reading in Parliament on 3 October 2022, setting out proposed regulations of providers of online communication services with significant reach or impact accessible by any Singapore end-user, as well as measures to prevent access to egregious content. The aim of the Bill is to enhance online user safety, particularly for children, and to curb the spread of harmful content on OCS. Designated providers of such OCS will have to comply with Codes of Practice issued by the Info-communications Media Development Authority to enhance online safety for Singapore end-users and curb the spread of harmful content on their service.
On 19 October 2022, the Health Sciences Authority issued an alert on fake HSA accounts on the TikTok platform. The HSA stated that it does not have a TikTok account and advised members of the public not to click on any links or respond to these fake accounts.
As part of the multi-pronged effort by the Infocomm Media Development Authority and other stakeholders to combat scams and safeguard SMS messaging as a communications channel, the IMDA will implement two measures following a public consultation: (i) mandatory registration with the Singapore SMS Sender ID Registry: Registration with the SSIR will be mandatory for all organizations that use SMS Sender IDs, and (ii) telecommunications operators to implement SMS anti-scam filtering solutions: Anti-scam filtering solutions will be implemented by telecommunications operators within their mobile networks to automatically filter potential scam messages before they reach consumers.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore has issued a consultation paper proposing additional regulatory safeguards, particularly around retail customer access, business conduct measures and technology risk management for cryptocurrency players. The MAS seeks to extend its regulatory focus beyond money laundering and terrorism financing risks, to holistically strengthen the regulatory framework, limit consumer harm and better address fraud protection in light of recent incidents, while acknowledging the need not to hamper digital innovation. The MAS proposes that these new requirements, once issued in the form of guidelines, will apply not only to licensed digital payment token service providers licensed under the Payment Services Act 2019, but also to those currently operating under a transitional exemption from licensing while their license applications are being reviewed.
On 6 October 2022, the Health Sciences Authority issued an update on products found and reported by overseas regulators to contain potent ingredients that are prohibited and briefly explained the possible side effects of the potent ingredients. The update aims to increase awareness among the local population on the safety issues of such products overseas. To better protect local consumers from harmful products that can be found overseas and online, the HSA not only conducts local surveillance, but monitors overseas enforcement actions, and updates consumers on products that may pose a threat to public health.
As part of an ongoing approach to combat scams, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has proposed new measures to reduce the ability of scammers to spoof their identity by using the same alphanumeric sender identification (“SMS Sender ID”) used by bona fide businesses. To further enhance consumer protection, the IMDA intends to make Singapore SMS Sender ID Registry (SSIR) registration mandatory for organisations who wish to use SMS Sender IDs.
Organisations using SMS Sender IDs must register with the SSIR using their Unique Entity Number (UEN) and aggregators handling SMS with Sender IDs must also participate in the SSIR and verify organisations via their UENs.
The Singapore Court of Appeal, in its recent decision of Reed, Michael v Bellingham, Alex (Attorney-General, intervener)  SGCA 60, provides clarity on two provisions under the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA). The first is section 4(1)(b), which states that the PDPA does not impose any obligation on any employee acting in the course of their employment with an organization. The second is the then section 32 (now section 48O), which allows individuals who suffer loss or damage as a result of an organization’s contravention of the PDPA, the right to commence private action against the organization.
With the coming into force of the Corporate Registers (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act 2022 on 4 October 2022, the Companies Act 1967 and the Limited Liability Partnerships Act 2005 have been amended to subject nominee shareholders and their nominators and individuals with “executive control” over the daily or regular corporate affairs to new disclosure obligations. This further aligns Singapore’s regime on transparency and beneficial ownership of Singapore-incorporated companies, foreign companies and limited liability partnerships with the international standards set by the Financial Action Task Force.
The Code of Practice: Chief Executives’ and Board of Directors’ Workplace Safety and Health Duties will, when gazetted in October 2022, apply to all directors and equivalent officers involved in policy making and executive decisions for business affairs of companies in all industries, even for companies which have no manual work and little risk of physical injury.
On 14 September 2022, the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) issued an alert on fake HSA accounts on Instagram that bear the HSA name, display photos and logos. The HSA clarified that it does not have an Instagram account and advises the public not to interact or respond to these fake accounts.