SINGAPORE PASSES NEW ACT TO ALLOWS TEMPORARY COMMUNICATION SHUT OFF AT ‘SERIOUS INCIDENT’ VICINITY
SINGAPORE, Singapore now has an act which can stop the public from making or communicating films or pictures; text or audio messages about law enforcement operations in a serious incident.’
Its parliament today passed the Public Order and Safety (Special Powers) Bill 2018 or POSSP Bill at its second reading.
In Parliament, Minister, Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for Home Affairs and Second Minister for Manpower, Josephine Teo, said powers to deal with the impact of modern technologies is one of the new tools introduced in the new POSSP Act (POSSPA).
Teo said the first set of tools deals with modern technologies which can endanger the safety of the public and security forces.
The minister said 60 years ago, when Public Order (Preservation) Act was enacted, there were only landline telephones.
Today, we have smart-phones, the internet, 24/7 TV news channels, and drones. Everyone with a smart phone can broadcast, and very many do, sometimes with wider viewership than regular media channels.
Such modern technologies have been both a boon and a bane for the Police, she said.
Teo noted that one clear example when they can hinder Police operations is during sensitive tactical operations, like hostage rescue.
The Police need to have the element of surprise over the perpetrators, so that the latter will not start to harm the victims in anticipation of Police’s response, or prepare themselves to defeat Police action.
The best-laid plans of the Police can be thwarted by a stray tweet or social media livestream. But, existing laws, such as the Public Order Act, may not allow the Police to deal adequately with such risks, she said.
POSSPA therefore contains special powers, to reduce the risk that their operations are compromised by unauthorised communications, she said.
POSSPA empowers the Commissioner of Police to issue a Communications Stop Order (CSO).
The CSO is not an information blackout throughout a terror incident, it is location-specific; and it is limited in duration.
Source: NAM News Network