Singapore government to review legality of VPNs

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The Singapore government has said it will review the legality of virtual private networks (VPNs).

The review on whether VPNs should be banned is one of a number of proposed changes to Singapore’s Copyright Act, which is soon to be updated, having last been overhauled in 2004.

On Tuesday, (Aug 23), Singapore’s Ministry of Law and the country’s Intellectual Property Office announced a two month public consultation on the proposals.

Currently Singapore has no law regarding the use of VPNs, which allow users to mask their actual location and access geo restricted content.

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During its consultation, the authorities are seeking review the current exceptions that allow for circumventions of “technological protection measures”, which act like locks to restrict access or use of copyrighted works, reports the Straits Times.

“There are some concerns that bypassing geographical blocks could infringe copyright,” said Daren Tang, chief executive of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore.

However, Singapore remains a supporter of the technology offered by VPNs, he added.

With that being said, there are currently no laws on the use VPNs to access geo-blocked content.

As is the case in many countries, people in Singapore have been using VPNs to watch content meant for other countries and which would not ordinarily be available.

However, pressure from content producers is believed to be have been what prompted the review.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, which represents thousands of producers around the world has previously called for a ban on VPNs being used to circumvent restrictions on accessing geo blocked content.

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