Singapore has always been known as a ‘nanny state’ as mentioned in privacyinternational.org on its article “Silenced-singapore”. The laws of Singapore allow the government to curtail and control information and expression of personal views with freedom. This can be seen clearly in the case of internet restrictions in Singapore.

 

The Internet Code of Practice introduced in 1996 (and amended in 1997) in Article 4 (1) defines prohibited material as “material that is objectionable on the grounds of public interest, public morality, public order, public security, national harmony, or is otherwise prohibited by applicable Singapore laws.” This applies to all means of information broadcasting, be it radio, television or the internet.

 

Being one of the first country to embrace the installation and application of the internet (though the country officially launched its public internet service in 1994), Singapore has always been strict in the information portrayed through the internet. With that said, the SBA (Singapore Broadcasting Authority) was placed in charge of the information broadcast via the internet. Though, with that said, the SBA does not monitor personal information such as emails. Rather, they target major websites which promotes ideologies which are incorrect or pornography and obscene sites. This includes sites such as ‘Playboy.com’ and sites which sells recreational drugs.

 

The Singaporean government has placed these restrictions under the main reason of protecting the minds of the young generation from ‘media pollutions’ such as pornography, drugs and even rebellious teachings. Site which promotes the idea of homosexuality and lesbianism are even banned under the legislation which places them next to bestiality, necrophilia and paedophilia. This mirrors the commitment of the Singaporean government in restricting the younger generations from accessing possible corrupting webpage.

 

Under the Oni testing (OpenNet Information), Singapore registered itself to be a low restriction country with only an approximate of 5 website blocked out of 770 websites. This qualifies Singapore to be a country which is not listed in RSF’s (Reporters without Borders) list of Internet-enemy, which targets countries which restricts their internet access to high level. This is made possible through the enforcement of the Cyber Wellness Task Force in 2002 which targets to implant a healthy and appropriate Net behaviour in the younger generation. This means that the Singaporean government are not required totally block all websites, but rather educate the Net users in the importance of accessing appropriate websites.

 

The Singaporean has even gone to the extent of punishing local internet offenders. As published in the IPS news (ipsnews.net), Gopalan Nair was a Singaporean citizen who migrated to America somewhere around 2004 and blogged about the political status of Singapore, usually from a negative point of view. This acts of insult, including against the Minister and Minister Mentor, cause the government to take legal actions and opened a court case against Nair.

 

When blogging it is good practice to never reveal your real name. Also it is important that if you are posting on a domain you own, you better make sure it is a private registration in which your identity is concealed. If you post on other sites, you IP address is logged and you can be tracked but using a VPN service, you conceal your real IP address and remain anonymous on the web.