The commitment towards “strengthening legislation and the criminal justice framework” was outlined in a recent national cybercrime action plan (17-leaf / 353KB PDF) published by Singapore’s government.

“A robust criminal justice system, supported by tough and eff­ective laws, will enable the Singapore Police Force (SPF) to e­ffectively investigate cybercrimes, and obtain the evidence needed for successful prosecution of those responsible,” according to the Ministry of Home Affairs’ (MHA) action plan. “Criminal justice procedures and processes must be nimble and efficient to deal with recent types of cybercriminal activities, as well as the haste and scale with which cybercrimes are perpetrated.”

Singapore’s government has specifically committed to amending the nation’s Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act. The planned update is “to ensure that the Act remains e­ffective in dealing with the transnational nature of cybercrimes, and the evolving tactics of cybercriminals”, it said.

The MHA also said it will review other laws, for example Singapore’s Criminal Procedure Code, to ensure the legislation is “relevant in dealing with traditional crimes that are committed in cyberspace”. It said it also intends to “strengthen regulatory frameworks to prevent cybercriminals from exploiting potential loopholes in digital platforms and processes”.

The national cybercrime action plan also contains measures aimed at increasing the public’s awareness of online fraud, and includes proposals for a recent platform to be developed to flag information about the latest scams and permit the public to “share their personal experiences of scam encounters, so that others can be forewarned if they should encounter similar experiences”.

Plans to boost the Singapore government’s “capacity and capability to combat cybercrime” possess also been set out. They include plans to improve the cooperation between the Singapore Police Force and government agencies, provide recent training opportunities for public officials on cyber issues and build on existing ties between the police and both the Attorney-General‘s Chambers and Cyber Security Agency of Singapore.

The MHA also said that it wants to improve Singapore’s collaboration on cybercrime matters with other countries, as well as with “institutes of higher learning” (IHLs) and business groups.

“The private sector plays a critical role in Singapore’s fight against cybercrime, as the leading expertise to deal with cybercrimes likely resides within industry and IHLs,” the action plan said. “Given the rapidly evolving nature of cybercrime, it is important for the government to labor closely with industry and IHLs, so that the necessary information and expertise to deal with the latest threat posed by cybercrime can be shared seamlessly.”

“solution private sector stakeholders (e.g. the banking and IT industries) are attractive targets for cybercriminals. The government needs to labor with stakeholders in these industries to ensure that they are aware of the threat posed by cybercrime and that they adopt cybercrime prevention measures. The government will partner industry and IHLs to: increase awareness of cybercrimes in the private sector, and; jointly develop capabilities to combat cybercrime,” it said.

A recent Cybersecurity Act is expected to be introduced in Singapore next year.