The Electronic Commerce Policy Committee has made recommendations for a national electronic commerce framework, to attract foreign and local companies to base electronic commerce hub activities in Singapore. Among its recommendations is the enactment of a proposed Electronic Transactions Bill, to provide the legal framework to address issues posed by electronic transactions and electronic commerce, such as:
- authentication of identity of the originator of electronic records and messages;
- legal recognition of electronic signatures;
- retention of records by electronic means;
- integrity of electronic records transmitted over networks;
- legal liability of service providers for third party content;
- formation and validity of electronic contracts;
- legislative framework for certification authorities and digital signatures;
- cross-certification of foreign digital signatures;
- government use of electronic records and signatures; in particular, the acceptance of electronic filing by government departments and statutory boards; and
- miscellaneous enforcement and investigation powers tailored for electronic transactions.
The committee adopted a combination of approaches from the Illinois Electronic Commerce Security Act, the US Uniform Commercial Code Model Provisions on Electronic Communications in Contractual Transactions, Uncitral Model Law on Electronic Commerce, German Multimedia Law and the Utah/Malaysia Digital Signature Act. It has also recommended that detailed licensing provisions should be contained in regulations for flexibility; all provisions should be contained in a single comprehensive bill; and the bill should be fine-tuned in line with fluid international developments.
Other recommendations of the committee include the updating of the Computer Misuse Act to take a more sophisticated approach to computer crime, and a review of existing intellectual property laws, such as the Copyright Act, to ensure they can adequately deal with new technology that defies traditional classification.
Public feedback is being sought on the recommendations.
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