Singapore: Online Criminal Harms Bill passed in parliament

In brief

The Online Criminal Harms Bill was passed in parliament on 5 July 2023, after its second reading. The bill follows a suite of legislation aimed at protecting the public from harms in the online space and introduces mechanisms for authorities to more effectively tackle online criminal activity.


There has been no material change between the legislation that was passed and the bill that was first read in parliament. For more information on the bill, please refer to our client alert here.

A key feature of the Online Criminal Harms Act is that it allows the government to issue directions to any online service where there is a reasonable suspicion that the service is being used to conduct criminal activity ("Government Directions"). Depending on the content and recipient, a total of five types of Government Directions may be issued under the bill:

  1. Stop communication direction. This requires persons who have control of the relevant material or proprietor of the online location (i.e., persons and entities who communicated online content) to stop communicating the specified online content to people in Singapore, whether by removing the relevant material, stopping the storing, posting, providing or transmitting of any online material similar to the relevant material, or disabling access to the relevant online location.
  2. Disabling direction. This requires online service providers (excluding internet access service or app distribution service) to disable access to specified content (e.g., a post or page) on their service to people in Singapore, including the disabling of access to such material, any identical copies of the relevant material or any relevant online location.
  3. Account restriction direction. This requires online service providers to disallow or restrict interaction of an account on their service from communicating with people in Singapore, whether by terminating, suspending or restricting functionalities in relation to that online account.
  4. Access blocking direction. This requires internet service providers to block access to an online location, such as a web domain, from the view of people in Singapore.
  5. App removal direction. This requires app stores to remove an app from their Singapore storefront to stop further downloads of the app by people in Singapore.

* * * * *

For further information and to discuss what this might mean for you, please get in touch with your usual Baker McKenzie contact.

* * * * *


© 2023 Baker & McKenzie.Wong & Leow. All rights reserved. Baker & McKenzie.Wong & Leow is incorporated with limited liability and is a member firm of Baker & McKenzie International, a global law firm with member law firms around the world. In accordance with the common terminology used in professional service organizations, reference to a "principal" means a person who is a partner, or equivalent, in such a law firm. Similarly, reference to an "office" means an office of any such law firm. This may qualify as "Attorney Advertising" requiring notice in some jurisdictions. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Copyright © 2024 Baker & McKenzie. All rights reserved. Ownership: This documentation and content (Content) is a proprietary resource owned exclusively by Baker McKenzie (meaning Baker & McKenzie International and its member firms). The Content is protected under international copyright conventions. Use of this Content does not of itself create a contractual relationship, nor any attorney/client relationship, between Baker McKenzie and any person. Non-reliance and exclusion: All Content is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal and regulatory developments. All summaries of the laws, regulations and practice are subject to change. The Content is not offered as legal or professional advice for any specific matter. It is not intended to be a substitute for reference to (and compliance with) the detailed provisions of applicable laws, rules, regulations or forms. Legal advice should always be sought before taking any action or refraining from taking any action based on any Content. Baker McKenzie and the editors and the contributing authors do not guarantee the accuracy of the Content and expressly disclaim any and all liability to any person in respect of the consequences of anything done or permitted to be done or omitted to be done wholly or partly in reliance upon the whole or any part of the Content. The Content may contain links to external websites and external websites may link to the Content. Baker McKenzie is not responsible for the content or operation of any such external sites and disclaims all liability, howsoever occurring, in respect of the content or operation of any such external websites. Attorney Advertising: This Content may qualify as “Attorney Advertising” requiring notice in some jurisdictions. To the extent that this Content may qualify as Attorney Advertising, PRIOR RESULTS DO NOT GUARANTEE A SIMILAR OUTCOME. Reproduction: Reproduction of reasonable portions of the Content is permitted provided that (i) such reproductions are made available free of charge and for non-commercial purposes, (ii) such reproductions are properly attributed to Baker McKenzie, (iii) the portion of the Content being reproduced is not altered or made available in a manner that modifies the Content or presents the Content being reproduced in a false light and (iv) notice is made to the disclaimers included on the Content. The permission to re-copy does not allow for incorporation of any substantial portion of the Content in any work or publication, whether in hard copy, electronic or any other form or for commercial purposes.