Singapore clamps down on hackers

Tuesday, 11 November 2003, 3:09 PM EST

Drawing comparisons with the island's harsh Internal Security Act that allows detention without trial, the revised Computer Misuse Act gives authorities wide-ranging powers to police the Internet.

Ho Peng Kee, Senior Minister of State for Law and Home Affairs, said the law aimed to fight "cyberterrorism," but would be used sparingly -- chiefly against threats to national security, essential services such as banking and finance, and foreign relations.

Passed on Monday, the bill allows police to take "pre-emptive action" based on credible information before hackers strike to protect computer networks from unauthorized entry.

People who hack or deface a Web site may be jailed for up to three years or fined up to S$10,000 ($5,800).

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