MDA blocks extramarital dating website

MDA blocks extramarital dating website
A photo illustration showing the homepage of the Ashley Madison dating website displayed on a laptop in Hong Kong.

Extramarital dating website Ashley Madison has been banned here, after Singaporeans objected to its recent announcement that it was setting up a local portal.

The Media Development Authority (MDA) said yesterday that it has worked with Internet service providers to block access to the site.

Normal attempts to access the Canadian-based website from within Singapore brought the following message: "The website you are trying to access is restricted by the MDA."

The site's ".sg" domain featured a woman holding a finger to her lips, with the site announcing it was "coming in November", and inviting people to register.

The MDA said the Government has a pragmatic and light- touch approach to regulating the Internet, and that it blocks a limited number of sites - most of which are pornographic - as a "symbolic statement".

But Ashley Madison was targeted because it "stood out".

"It aggressively promotes and facilitates extramarital affairs and has declared that it will specifically target Singaporeans," said the MDA.

"It is against the public interest to allow Ashley Madison to promote its website in flagrant disregard of our family values and public morality."

But the authority recognises that site blocking is "not a perfect way" because it can be circumvented.

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