Singapore

Introduction:

The military, intelligence and security ties between the two countries. The ties are very close to the extent that Singapore has over five decades become a very important market for Israel’s military industries not only in Southeast Asia but on a global level, and a partner in joint research and development ventures of advanced weapon systems.

Israel – Singapore Relations:

The ties between the two countries started around the first years after the establishment of Israel, before diplomatic relations between the countries were formally established in 1969.[1] However, Singapore kept the relationship on a low profile for the next thirty years due to its relationship with its Muslim neighbors Malaysia and Indonesia. In 1986 Singapore’s Foreign Minister S. Dhanabalan visited Israel and later in the same year Israeli president Herzog visited Singapore. [2]

In 1990, the Singapore-Israel Chamber of Commerce started operating. Singaporean–Israeli trade relations continued to expand and by 1991, Israel’s trade with Singapore totaled $79 million in exports and $43 million in imports.[3]

Since 1997, the Singapore-Israel Industrial Research & Development Foundation has provided $170 million in funding for about 150 projects worldwide.[4]

In 2005, the two countries signed a pact to ease the flow of goods and investments between the two countries during a visit to Israel by Singaporean Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong.[5] In 2013, Singapore–Israel trade totalled S$1.956 billion.[6] Israel and Singapore have signed agreements on R&D and on avoidance of double taxation.[7] Israel exports to Singapore was $529.66 Million during 2018, according to the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade.[8] Israel exports mostly electrical equipment to Singapore, while Singapore exports mostly machinery and computer equipment to Israel.[9]

Today bilateral cooperation spans many sectors including technology, research and development, health care and education. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya and Tel Aviv University all maintain close ties with Singaporean institutions including the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University.[10]

Military relations:

Singapore’s relationship with the Israeli military dates back to 1965, when six Israeli officers were sent to help establish the Singapore Army, including by conducting its first officers’ course and consulting on its military structure.[11]

In the early days of Singapore’s independence, Israeli Air Force officers and local industry helped build the country’s Air Command and Control Center and integrate Israeli air-to-air missiles on fighters procured from the US and other suppliers. Similar technical and conceptual experience was provided to Singapore’s Navy and Ground Forces; and the two countries enjoyed routine training across a spectrum of combat disciplines.[12]

Since Israeli military advisers gradually left the city-state in the mid-1970s, close relationships have developed in the field of defense industry and technology in general. Israel and Singapore have signed dozens of deals worth hundreds of millions of dollars since then. The Singaporean army, today considered one of the most powerful in Southeast Asia, has since the late 1960s used the same type of weapons as Israel’s military and can mobilize hundreds of thousands of reservists within a few hours.[13]

For Israel, Singapore is now one of the main customers of its military industry, the outcome of forty years of cooperation carefully kept as a secret. The arms trade contracts between Israel and Singapore include the sale of tanks, air-to-ground “Barak” missiles and the “Hermes” drone system, fighter jets equipped with the latest Israeli electronic devices and warships. Since the year 2000, cooperation between intelligence services of the two states has increased too. Israel has a significant presence in Singapore with experts, delegations and military installations.[14]

Between 2014-2019, the two countries have only reported $61 million worth of arms sales between them, although the figure is likely much higher.[15] Just this year, the Singapore military accidentally made public (and quickly removed) an image of its Heron 1 drones, as well as Hermes 450 and Spider drones. Defense News reported that the Singaporean air force is flying two squadrons of Israeli- made drones. One is composed of the Hermes model manufactured by Elbit, and one of the Heron made by IAI.[16]

Singapore attracts hundreds of former Israeli military and intelligence officers and hosts major security corporations such as Israel Aerospace Industries, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Elbit Systems, in addition to the Israeli Embassy with its military attachés.[17] It was also reported that the two countries’ military industries cooperate in joint ventures in third countries.[18] Another pattern revealed by some foreign reports is that Singapore invests money in the research and development of Israeli weapons systems and in return gets to manufacture them in its own industries.

Joint Ventures

CSF Ventures Pte LtdA, a Singapore-Israel joint venture (Israel: Avnon Group, Singapore: JCS Group) is focusing on early-stage security technology (Cybersecurity, Homeland security, IoT security, etc.) startup venture building and investment. [19]

Singapore Technologies Engineering (ST) and Israel Aerospace Industries announced in 2020 the formation of a Singapore-based joint venture company to develop and market advanced missile systems, including a new anti-ship cruise missile. The company will be named Proteus Advanced Systems Pte. [20]

The MATADOR was developed jointly by the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA), in collaboration with Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Dynamit Nobel Defence (DND) joint team.[21]

Cyber Security

In September 2011 the Singapore Government announced the establishment of the National Cyber Security Centre to boost its capabilities to counter cyber security threats.[22] Israeli IT and cyber security companies that are present in Singapore include: Check Point Security, GTB Technologies, NICE Systems, Elbit Systems. [23] The two defense establishments have cooperated on a range of programs from homeland security to cyber, including state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries‘ 2014 establishment of a cyber early warning research and development center in Singapore.[24]

In 2016 during the meeting of Israel and Singapore’s prime ministers they pledged to expand cyber defense cooperation and high-tech trade ties.[25]

In 2017 the Israeli company Cyberbit opened an office in Singapore. “The new office will enable Cyberbit to directly support its fast-growing customer base in Singapore, and will accelerate Cyberbit’s expansion in the area, focusing on government and financial sectors. The Singapore office is Cyberbit’s third global office” Cyberbit announced on their website.[26]

Singapore-based global investment company Temasek and Israeli ‎cybersecurity consulting firm Sygnia signed a deal in 2018 for Temasek to acquire the Israeli ‎startup for some $250 million.‎ Founded in 2015, Tel Aviv-based Sygnia focuses on ‎cybersecurity consulting and response to complex and ‎sophisticated cyberattacks. ‎[27]

In 2019 Israel and Israel conducted a roundtable in the yearly cyberweek conference in Israel. The event that was organized in cooperation with the Israel National Cyber Directorate included cybersecurity leaders from both countries that discussed topics such as academic, commercial, industrial, and federal approaches to cybersecurity.[28]

Between June 2018 and October 2019, three Global Expert Missions of KTN took place in Singapore, the USA and Israel to better understand their research and innovation landscapes and to establish potential opportunities for collaboration in the cyber security sector.[29]

In 2018 and 2020 research and media platforms published that the spywares “Pegasus” and “Fleming” by the Israeli company NSO Group were being operated in Singapore.[30] [31] Also the Israeli company Anyvision, which develops AI-facial recognition technologies is operating an office in Singapore.[32]

In 2020, Singapore ramped up its research and innovation efforts to strengthen its cyber security capabilities with an upcoming collaboration between the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) and Israel’s Tel Aviv University.[33]

Israel Aerospace ELTA‘s Custodio Technologies announced in 2020, that they will collaborate with Singapore’s Defense Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) to develop technology to detect cybercrimes. The project will leverage Custodio Technologies locally developed, next generation cybersecurity analysis platform – CyVestiGO, that is also an integral part of Custodio’s parent company IAI‘s global offering of national level cybersecurity centers and is being deployed in IAI’s projects around the world.[34]

Usage of Israeli Arms:

SPIKE – In usage by Singaporean Military

Matador – In usage by Singaporean Military

Soltam M-65 – In usage by Singaporean Military

Elta Systems ELM-2311 SAFARI – In use by Singaporean Military

Elta Systems EL/M-2084 – In use by Singaporean Air Force

Phyton 4 – In use by Singaporean Air Force (600 missiles obtained)[35]

Derby – In use by Singaporean Air Force.

Spyder SAM system – 12 launchers in use by Singaporean Air Force.[36]

Hermes 450 UAV – In use by Singaporean Air Force since 2007.[37]

Heron 1 UAV – in use by Singaporean Air Force since 2012.[38]

Human Rights Violations:

Singaporean citizens face severe restrictions on their basic rights to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly through overly broad criminal laws and regulations. Singapore’s restrictions on speech tightened in 2019 with the passage of the overly broad Protection Against Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act – it permits a single government minister to order the “correction” or removal of online content. Authorities continued to use existing laws to penalize peaceful expression and protest, with activists, lawyers, and online media facing prosecution, civil defamation suits, and threats of contempt of court charges.[39]

The rights of the LGBT community are severely curtailed. Sexual relations between men remains a criminal offense, and there are no legal protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.[40]

Migrants’ rights groups expressed concerns about the treatment and working conditions of migrant workers, including foreign domestic workers.[41]

As to 2020, Singapore retains the death penalty, which is mandated for many drug offenses and certain other crimes. The number of those executed in 2019 is uncertain.[42]

The Right to Privacy and Mass Surveilance

When the Singapore constitution was written, it did not include a right to privacy and the subsequent data protection act does not protect citizens from government-sanctioned surveillance. The government does not need prior judicial authorization to conduct any surveillance interception, and documents that restrict what officials can do with personal data are classified. In a U.S State Department report in 2015, it is believed that law enforcement and government agencies have extensive networks for gathering information and conducting surveillance. A majority of Singaporeans are widely aware that authorities track telephone conversations and the use of the internet of civilians, and indirect routine checks are usually done on some government critics.[43] [44]

Singapore is reportedly experimenting with facial recognition technologies at immigration checkpoints and among others in housing projects and student hostels.[45] In 2020 media platforms reported that in the near future Singapore’s citizens will access government services through a new facial verification feature in its national identity program, called “Dubbed SingPass Face Verification”. The development is part of the government’s $1.75 billion “Smart Nation” initiative, launched in 2014. The new face verification system could also be used in private-sector organizations and education.[46]

In 2020 Singapore operated a mass surveillance technology called “trace together” that was used to track down carriers of Covid-19 virus.[47] After problems with the app, Singapore announced its planning a comprehensive contact tracing system in which it will distribute to all its 5.7 million residents a wearable device that will identify people who have interacted with people carrying Covid-19. Critics are concerned that it will be difficult to tell what the device is doing or what information it sends to back-end servers.[48]

For more information about the Right to privacy in Singapore, see the report of Privacy International.[49]

Sales Records Table:

1. ^ https://www.i24news.tv/en/news/international/110391-160420-singapore-a-military-power-in-south-asia-built-on-the-israeli-model

2. ^ https://archive.org/details/israelsquestforr00abad

3. ^ https://www.janes.com/article/91867/update-deleted-image-shows-singapore-air-force-heron-1-uav-with-new-belly-payload-pod

4. ^ https://www.siird.com/

5. ^ http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=NewsLibrary&p_multi=BBAB&d_place=BBAB&p_theme=newslibrary2&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=10A371C99E46C534&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&s_trackval=GooglePM

6. ^ http://itrade.gov.il/singapore/2014/01/17/singapore-israel-trade-hits-almost-s2-billion-2013/

7. ^ http://economy.gov.il/English/InternationalAffairs/ForeignTradeAdministration/TradePolicyAgreements/Pages/TradeEconomicAgreementsTable.aspx

8. ^ https://tradingeconomics.com/israel/exports/singapore

9. ^ http://itrade.gov.il/singapore/2014/01/17/singapore-israel-trade-hits-almost-s2-billion-2013/

10. ^ https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-the-lion-city-and-the-start-up-nation-how-israel-helped-singapore-1.8676074

11. ^ https://www.haaretz.co.il/news/politics/1.982233?lts=1575878562626

12. ^ https://www.defensenews.com/global/2016/04/19/israel-singapore-pledge-expanded-cyber-cooperation/

13. ^ https://www.i24news.tv/en/news/international/110391-160420-singapore-a-military-power-in-south-asia-built-on-the-israeli-model

14. ^ https://nlb.overdrive.com/media/300703

15. ^ https://www.sipri.org/databases/armstransfers

16. ^ https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/politics-and-diplomacy/intelligence-file-the-ties-that-bind-452543

17. ^ https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/politics-and-diplomacy/intelligence-file-the-ties-that-bind-452543

18. ^ https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/politics-and-diplomacy/intelligence-file-the-ties-that-bind-452543

19. ^ https://www.csf-ventures.com/

20. ^ https://www.iai.co.il/st-engineering-and-iai-advanced-naval-missile-systems

21. ^ http://www.mindef.gov.sg/imindef/news_and_events/nr/2004/sep/04sep04_nr/04sep04_fs.html

22. ^ https://itrade.gov.il/singapore/2012/02/06/israel-and-singapore-synergies-in-cyber-security-defense/

23. ^ https://itrade.gov.il/singapore/2012/02/06/israel-and-singapore-synergies-in-cyber-security-defense/

24. ^ https://www.defensenews.com/global/2016/04/19/israel-singapore-pledge-expanded-cyber-cooperation/

25. ^ https://www.defensenews.com/global/2016/04/19/israel-singapore-pledge-expanded-cyber-cooperation/

26. ^ https://www.cyberbit.com/company/news/cyberbit-opens-singapore-office/

27. ^ https://www.israelhayom.com/2018/10/17/singapore-investment-giant-buys-israeli-%e2%80%8ecybersecurity-startup-for-250-million-%e2%80%8e/

28. ^ https://cyberweek.tau.ac.il/2019/Events/Singapore-%7Cfwsa%7C-Israel-Roundtable

29. ^ https://ktn-uk.org/events/strengthening-cybersecurity-collaborations-outcomes-from-missions-to-singapore-israel-usa/ v

30. ^ https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-17/surveillance-company-nso-supplying-data-analysis-to-stop-virus

31. ^ HIDE AND SEEK: Tracking NSO Group’s Pegasus Spyware to Operations in 45 Countries – The Citizen Lab

32. ^ https://www.anyvision.co/contact-creative

33. ^ https://www.straitstimes.com/tech/spore-cyber-security-capabilities-to-be-enhanced

34. ^ https://www.defenseworld.net/news/26819/Israeli_ELTA_to_Partner_Singapore_DSTA_in_Cybercrimes_Detection#.YACHs7IxnIU

35. ^ http://armstrade.sipri.org/armstrade/page/trade_register.php

36. ^ http://armstrade.sipri.org/armstrade/page/trade_register.php

37. ^ https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/rsaf-tracking-drone-technology-with-an-eye-to-renewing-its-capabilities-chief-of-air-force

38. ^ https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/rsaf-tracking-drone-technology-with-an-eye-to-renewing-its-capabilities-chief-of-air-force

39. ^ https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2020/country-chapters/singapore#

40. ^ https://www.hrw.org/asia/singapore

41. ^ https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/asia-and-the-pacific/singapore/report-singapore/

42. ^ https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2020/country-chapters/singapore

43. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20150702183328/https://www.privacyinternational.org/sites/default/files/Singapore_UPR_PI_submission_FINAL.pdf

44. ^ https://privacyinternational.org/sites/default/files/2017-12/Singapore_UPR_PI_submission_FINAL.pdf

45. ^ https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/commentary/singapore-facial-recognition-camera-data-privacy-identity-12452916

46. ^ https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/singapore-facial-recognition-getting-woven-everyday-life-n1242945

47. ^ https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/27/coronavirus-surveillance-used-by-governments-to-fight-pandemic-privacy-concerns.html

48. ^ https://privacyinternational.org/examples/3930/singapore-considers-wearable-trackers-after-app-failures

49. ^ https://privacyinternational.org/sites/default/files/2017-12/Singapore_UPR_PI_submission_FINAL.pdf

Singapore

The military, intelligence and security ties between the two countries. The ties are very close to the extent that Singapore has over five decades become a very important market for Israel’s military industries not only in Southeast Asia but on a global level, and a partner in joint research and development ventures of advanced weapon systems.

The ties between the two countries started around the first years after the establishment of Israel, before diplomatic relations between the countries were formally established in 1969.[1] However, Singapore kept the relationship on a low profile for the next thirty years due to its relationship with its Muslim neighbors Malaysia and Indonesia. In 1986 Singapore’s Foreign Minister S. Dhanabalan visited Israel and later in the same year Israeli president Herzog visited Singapore. [2]

In 1990, the Singapore-Israel Chamber of Commerce started operating. Singaporean–Israeli trade relations continued to expand and by 1991, Israel’s trade with Singapore totaled $79 million in exports and $43 million in imports.[3]

Since 1997, the Singapore-Israel Industrial Research & Development Foundation has provided $170 million in funding for about 150 projects worldwide.[4]

In 2005, the two countries signed a pact to ease the flow of goods and investments between the two countries during a visit to Israel by Singaporean Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong.[5] In 2013, Singapore–Israel trade totalled S$1.956 billion.[6] Israel and Singapore have signed agreements on R&D and on avoidance of double taxation.[7] Israel exports to Singapore was $529.66 Million during 2018, according to the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade.[8] Israel exports mostly electrical equipment to Singapore, while Singapore exports mostly machinery and computer equipment to Israel.[9]

Today bilateral cooperation spans many sectors including technology, research and development, health care and education. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya and Tel Aviv University all maintain close ties with Singaporean institutions including the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University.[10]

Singapore’s relationship with the Israeli military dates back to 1965, when six Israeli officers were sent to help establish the Singapore Army, including by conducting its first officers’ course and consulting on its military structure.[11]

In the early days of Singapore’s independence, Israeli Air Force officers and local industry helped build the country’s Air Command and Control Center and integrate Israeli air-to-air missiles on fighters procured from the US and other suppliers. Similar technical and conceptual experience was provided to Singapore’s Navy and Ground Forces; and the two countries enjoyed routine training across a spectrum of combat disciplines.[12]

Since Israeli military advisers gradually left the city-state in the mid-1970s, close relationships have developed in the field of defense industry and technology in general. Israel and Singapore have signed dozens of deals worth hundreds of millions of dollars since then. The Singaporean army, today considered one of the most powerful in Southeast Asia, has since the late 1960s used the same type of weapons as Israel’s military and can mobilize hundreds of thousands of reservists within a few hours.[13]

For Israel, Singapore is now one of the main customers of its military industry, the outcome of forty years of cooperation carefully kept as a secret. The arms trade contracts between Israel and Singapore include the sale of tanks, air-to-ground “Barak” missiles and the “Hermes” drone system, fighter jets equipped with the latest Israeli electronic devices and warships. Since the year 2000, cooperation between intelligence services of the two states has increased too. Israel has a significant presence in Singapore with experts, delegations and military installations.[14]

Between 2014-2019, the two countries have only reported $61 million worth of arms sales between them, although the figure is likely much higher.[15] Just this year, the Singapore military accidentally made public (and quickly removed) an image of its Heron 1 drones, as well as Hermes 450 and Spider drones. Defense News reported that the Singaporean air force is flying two squadrons of Israeli- made drones. One is composed of the Hermes model manufactured by Elbit, and one of the Heron made by IAI.[16]

Singapore attracts hundreds of former Israeli military and intelligence officers and hosts major security corporations such as Israel Aerospace Industries, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Elbit Systems, in addition to the Israeli Embassy with its military attachés.[17] It was also reported that the two countries’ military industries cooperate in joint ventures in third countries.[18] Another pattern revealed by some foreign reports is that Singapore invests money in the research and development of Israeli weapons systems and in return gets to manufacture them in its own industries.

Joint Ventures

CSF Ventures Pte LtdA, a Singapore-Israel joint venture (Israel: Avnon Group, Singapore: JCS Group) is focusing on early-stage security technology (Cybersecurity, Homeland security, IoT security, etc.) startup venture building and investment. [19]

Singapore Technologies Engineering (ST) and Israel Aerospace Industries announced in 2020 the formation of a Singapore-based joint venture company to develop and market advanced missile systems, including a new anti-ship cruise missile. The company will be named Proteus Advanced Systems Pte. [20]

The MATADOR was developed jointly by the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA), in collaboration with Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Dynamit Nobel Defence (DND) joint team.[21]

Cyber Security

In September 2011 the Singapore Government announced the establishment of the National Cyber Security Centre to boost its capabilities to counter cyber security threats.[22] Israeli IT and cyber security companies that are present in Singapore include: Check Point Security, GTB Technologies, NICE Systems, Elbit Systems. [23] The two defense establishments have cooperated on a range of programs from homeland security to cyber, including state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries‘ 2014 establishment of a cyber early warning research and development center in Singapore.[24]

In 2016 during the meeting of Israel and Singapore’s prime ministers they pledged to expand cyber defense cooperation and high-tech trade ties.[25]

In 2017 the Israeli company Cyberbit opened an office in Singapore. “The new office will enable Cyberbit to directly support its fast-growing customer base in Singapore, and will accelerate Cyberbit’s expansion in the area, focusing on government and financial sectors. The Singapore office is Cyberbit’s third global office” Cyberbit announced on their website.[26]

Singapore-based global investment company Temasek and Israeli ‎cybersecurity consulting firm Sygnia signed a deal in 2018 for Temasek to acquire the Israeli ‎startup for some $250 million.‎ Founded in 2015, Tel Aviv-based Sygnia focuses on ‎cybersecurity consulting and response to complex and ‎sophisticated cyberattacks. ‎[27]

In 2019 Israel and Israel conducted a roundtable in the yearly cyberweek conference in Israel. The event that was organized in cooperation with the Israel National Cyber Directorate included cybersecurity leaders from both countries that discussed topics such as academic, commercial, industrial, and federal approaches to cybersecurity.[28]

Between June 2018 and October 2019, three Global Expert Missions of KTN took place in Singapore, the USA and Israel to better understand their research and innovation landscapes and to establish potential opportunities for collaboration in the cyber security sector.[29]

In 2018 and 2020 research and media platforms published that the spywares “Pegasus” and “Fleming” by the Israeli company NSO Group were being operated in Singapore.[30] [31] Also the Israeli company Anyvision, which develops AI-facial recognition technologies is operating an office in Singapore.[32]

In 2020, Singapore ramped up its research and innovation efforts to strengthen its cyber security capabilities with an upcoming collaboration between the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) and Israel’s Tel Aviv University.[33]

Israel Aerospace ELTA‘s Custodio Technologies announced in 2020, that they will collaborate with Singapore’s Defense Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) to develop technology to detect cybercrimes. The project will leverage Custodio Technologies locally developed, next generation cybersecurity analysis platform – CyVestiGO, that is also an integral part of Custodio’s parent company IAI‘s global offering of national level cybersecurity centers and is being deployed in IAI’s projects around the world.[34]

SPIKE – In usage by Singaporean Military

Matador – In usage by Singaporean Military

Soltam M-65 – In usage by Singaporean Military

Elta Systems ELM-2311 SAFARI – In use by Singaporean Military

Elta Systems EL/M-2084 – In use by Singaporean Air Force

Phyton 4 – In use by Singaporean Air Force (600 missiles obtained)[35]

Derby – In use by Singaporean Air Force.

Spyder SAM system – 12 launchers in use by Singaporean Air Force.[36]

Hermes 450 UAV – In use by Singaporean Air Force since 2007.[37]

Heron 1 UAV – in use by Singaporean Air Force since 2012.[38]

Singaporean citizens face severe restrictions on their basic rights to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly through overly broad criminal laws and regulations. Singapore’s restrictions on speech tightened in 2019 with the passage of the overly broad Protection Against Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act – it permits a single government minister to order the “correction” or removal of online content. Authorities continued to use existing laws to penalize peaceful expression and protest, with activists, lawyers, and online media facing prosecution, civil defamation suits, and threats of contempt of court charges.[39]

The rights of the LGBT community are severely curtailed. Sexual relations between men remains a criminal offense, and there are no legal protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.[40]

Migrants’ rights groups expressed concerns about the treatment and working conditions of migrant workers, including foreign domestic workers.[41]

As to 2020, Singapore retains the death penalty, which is mandated for many drug offenses and certain other crimes. The number of those executed in 2019 is uncertain.[42]

The Right to Privacy and Mass Surveilance

When the Singapore constitution was written, it did not include a right to privacy and the subsequent data protection act does not protect citizens from government-sanctioned surveillance. The government does not need prior judicial authorization to conduct any surveillance interception, and documents that restrict what officials can do with personal data are classified. In a U.S State Department report in 2015, it is believed that law enforcement and government agencies have extensive networks for gathering information and conducting surveillance. A majority of Singaporeans are widely aware that authorities track telephone conversations and the use of the internet of civilians, and indirect routine checks are usually done on some government critics.[43] [44]

Singapore is reportedly experimenting with facial recognition technologies at immigration checkpoints and among others in housing projects and student hostels.[45] In 2020 media platforms reported that in the near future Singapore’s citizens will access government services through a new facial verification feature in its national identity program, called “Dubbed SingPass Face Verification”. The development is part of the government’s $1.75 billion “Smart Nation” initiative, launched in 2014. The new face verification system could also be used in private-sector organizations and education.[46]

In 2020 Singapore operated a mass surveillance technology called “trace together” that was used to track down carriers of Covid-19 virus.[47] After problems with the app, Singapore announced its planning a comprehensive contact tracing system in which it will distribute to all its 5.7 million residents a wearable device that will identify people who have interacted with people carrying Covid-19. Critics are concerned that it will be difficult to tell what the device is doing or what information it sends to back-end servers.[48]

For more information about the Right to privacy in Singapore, see the report of Privacy International.[49]