Adultery portal's retort: 'We didn't invent infidelity

Adultery portal's retort: 'We didn't invent infidelity
A photo illustration showing the homepage of the Ashley Madison dating website displayed on a laptop in Hong Kong.

SINGAPORE - Extramarital dating website Ashley Madison said it is "disappointed" by the Media Development Authority (MDA) decision to block it in Singapore.

It labelled the government action "over-bearing", noting that its website is available in more than 30 countries.

Chief executive Noel Biderman, 42, maintained that his website "does not aggressively promote extramarital affairs" but provides a platform for like-minded people to meet and is no different than other available dating sites here.

The Canada-based company also argued that it was not breaking any laws by coming to Singapore as adultery is not illegal here. Mr Biderman also said his website "didn't invent infidelity".

The company said it was consulting its legal advisers to determine its legal rights to challenge the Singapore Government action.

The MDA said last Friday that it has worked with Internet service providers to block access to the site which "stood out (because) it aggressively promotes and facilitates extramarital affairs and has declared that it will specifically target Singaporeans".

The website entered the Asian market this year, first in Japan in June, followed by Hong Kong in August. Members pay the website to contact one another.

Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim said at a community event yesterday that although blocking the website was not a perfect solution, it was something the MDA had to do "primarily because we have to show to Singaporeans that we care about things which are important for us".

"And in this particular instance, they especially target Singaporeans, so it is very clear that they want to set up shop here and promote things that run counter to our values," said Dr Yaacob. "So we decided, better to not wait for them to set up here and just tell them they are not welcome here, because we have to safeguard our family values."

About 27,000 Singaporeans have also supported a "Block Ashley Madison - Singapore" Facebook page. Its founder, a 34-year-old businessman who wanted to be known only as Mr Ng, said he was happy with the decision, and that Mr Biderman "must be feeling defeated".

"He says he is not promoting infidelity, but he needs to read his own tagline again - 'Life is short. Have an affair'. What's the difference between that and infidelity?

"It may be true that Ashley Madison did not invent infidelity, but if we have an inflicted wound we do not press the wound and infect it further," he said.

"In Ashley Madison, we have a potential catalyst driving an orchestrated attempt to propagate infidelity, which may lead to further exponential growth," he added.

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