When WikiLeaks meets the Law

When WikiLeaks meets the Law

Summary: As countries deal with the WikiLeaks fallout, many would also look at their laws to see if their regulations would adequately protect them in this instance as well as in future cases. How would Singapore law handle this situation?

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As countries deal with the WikiLeaks fallout, many would also look at their laws to see if their regulations would adequately protect them in this instance as well as in future cases. How would Singapore law handle this situation?

WikiLeaks had disclosed U.S. diplomatic cables containing information provided by Singapore government officials. Section 5(2) of Singapore's Official Secrets Act applies to information received by a person who had reasonable ground to believe, at the time when he received it, that the information was communicated to him in contravention of the Act will be guilty of an offence, unless he proves that the communication of the information was contrary to his desire.

There are two elements the Prosecution must establish: 1) the information is "protected"; and 2) the information was communicated to another who had reasonable grounds to believe the information is so protected.

Given that the cables had various classifications on them, it would not be a stretch to show such reasonable grounds exist.

In the context of civil action, the law of confidentiality could potentially be used to protect such information. The courts have consistently held that a primary confidant, having communicated the confidential information to a third-party in breach of obligation, does not entitle the third-party to do the same.

Of course, whether Singapore official secrecy law has extraterritorial reach is another matter.

Topics: Singapore, Government US, Networking, Security

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