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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Singapore Plans System To Police Web

SINGAPORE -- Singapore launches its first large-scale attempt to police cyberspace next month when a special computer system starts blocking Internet users from viewing pornography and other banned sites.

The "proxy server" is the first censorship weapon unveiled since the government issued rules last month barring government criticism, pornography and discussions on race and religion online.

"Currently the proxy server is the most efficient way we can think of to monitor objectionable sites," said Ahmad Suhaimi, of the government's Singapore Broadcasting Authority.

People access the Internet through service providers, businesses that use computers called servers to provide the gateway to cyberspace.

Beginning Sept. 15, providers must channel this city-state's more than 120,000 Internet subscribers online through the proxy servers, preventing them from seeing about a dozen sites known to contain nudity and sexual topics, Suhaimi said.

The servers also will check every Internet site a subscriber tries to access against the government's list of banned sites, said Ricardo Villanueva, a spokesman for SingNet, Singapore's largest Internet provider.

Until now, the government's emphasis has been on threat of prosecution and fines for those ignoring its guidelines. It was not clear how sites would actually be kept out of view. It is doubtful even proxy servers can police the Internet totally, officials acknowledged.