Government bracing for digital economy , Business, Phnom Penh Post Phnom Penh Post 1st Apr 2019
The government has made preparing for a digital economy and responding to the Fourth Industrial Revolution a priority as the country must speed up its economic transformation for long-term growth, the Ministry of Economy and Finance has said. Speaking at the three-day Digital Cambodia 2019 event, that addressed the theme “Towards Industry 4.0” and ended on Sunday, Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth said Cambodia’s economy is moving away from basic agriculture and is becoming more centred on services and industry.
US, China Face Off Over 5G in Cambodia VOA 30th Mar 2019
For techies and phone geeks, Digital Cambodia 2019 was the place to be. More than a dozen high school students clustered at the booth for Cellcard, Cambodia’s leading mobile operator. Under the booth’s 5G sign, they played video games on their phones. Hak Kimheng, a ninth grade student in Phnom Penh, said his mom bought him a Samsung smartphone a few months ago, when he moved to the capital city from nearby Kandal province to live with his uncle while attending school. Like moms everywhere, she thought the smartphone would help her stay in touch with her son.
Cambodia / Ready for a (digital) revolution? Global Times 28th Mar 2019
The government in Cambodia recently hosted a digital conference that celebrated the Kingdom’s growing tech startup sector while simultaneously discussing the mounting challenges the country faces in embracing digitisation – before the digital revolution leaves Cambodia behind
Online retailers approve of revocation of e-commerce tax regulation The Jakarta Post 8th Apr 2019
Representatives from online marketplaces and online retailers have welcomed the government’s decision to revoke a regulation on e-commerce taxes that was originally to be enforced on April 1. Critics of the regulation argued it would have halted the growth of the e-commerce industry, which is still in early stages of the development, and discourage businesses, especially small companies, from using e-commerce to reach out to more customers. Finance Ministerial Regulation (PMK) No. 210/2018, which was signed on Dec. 31, mandates that online marketplaces collect information such as tax numbers and personal identity numbers. The regulation also provides clarification on income tax rates for online sellers. The regulation also stated that online transactions were subject to taxes that also applied to offline transactions such as value-added tax and luxury goods tax. Indonesian E-Commerce Association (idEA) chairman Ignatius Untung welcomed the revocation, saying the decision was the right one for ensuring further growth in the e-commerce sector.
Indonesia completes refarming of 800, 900 MHz frequencies The Jakarta Post 4th Apr 2019
The Communications and Information Ministry has announced that it has completed the refarming of 800 and 900 hertz frequencies, giving customers faster speed for internet services on cellular devices. The refarming process, which started on Feb. 25, will affect Telkomsel and Indosat Ooredoo customers. “Customers can enjoy the best internet speed. The refarming can also enhance spectrum efficiency to make LTE (long-term evolution) expansion possible for up to 95 percent of the population,” Telkomsel network director Bob Apriawan said on Wednesday as quoted by kontan.co.id. The ministry's resources, information and equipment director general, Ismail, said the frequency refarming encouraged efficiency and optimization of the radio frequency spectrum. “After the completion of the refarming, the 800 MHz and 900 MHz radio frequencies are in a contiguous position, allowing customers of cellular phones to receive better quality services,” Ismail said.
Indonesia, S Korea sign MoU on Certificate of Origin Data Exchange Antara News 3rd Apr 2019
To facilitate the implementation of the Free Trade Agreement and enhance trade cooperation between the two countries, Indonesia and South Korea signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the Electronic Certificate of Origin Data Exchange. Director General of Foreign Trade at the Trade Ministry Oke Nurwan, Director General of Customs and Excise at the Finance Ministry Heru Pambudi and Chief of the National Single Window Institution (LNSW) Djatmiko signed the MoU on behalf of the Indonesian government with Korean Customs Services (KCS) Commissioner Kim Yung Moon. Nurwan said that through the MoU, the two countries agreed to exchange data in order to improve trade services, implement trade facilities and reach an efficient cost in terms of trade transactions. The MoU is also meant to enhance trade and economic relations between Indonesia and South Korea and stop the misuse of certificates of origin for Indonesian products, he said. "To increase international trade, the Indonesian government has revised its regulations and adjusted its policies to accommodate the exchange of electronic data. This was done by simplifying procedures and documents with the parties involved," he said. The growing competition from the global and domestic markets has forced Indonesia to adopt more innovative trade practices and standards, he said.
Indonesia must invest billions in infocomm tech: Report The Business Times 2nd Apr 2019
Indonesia needs a national digital transformation plan, consulting firm A.T. Kearney has said, calling for more investment in technology and infrastructure. While schemes such as “Making Indonesia 4.0” and an e-commerce road map are already under way, “the government’s digital initiatives are split across a number of different national road maps, and as such, lack a clear overall focus”, a recent report argued. Indonesia “should also urgently set up a national digital taskforce to co-ordinate national policymaking and promote broad consumer adoption”, with buy-in from both the public and the private sector, the report added. The Indonesian government must invest between 275 trillion rupiah (S$26.2 billion) and 300 trillion rupiah a year in infocommunications technology, such as cyber security, automation and analytics, according to analysts Hari Venkataramani, Vanda Chau, Sridhar Narasimhan, Damian Manuel, and Shirley Dhewayani Santoso, who wrote the report. A.T. Kearney noted that Indonesia’s digital infrastructure investments has made up about 1.3 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) - lagging behind South-east Asian peers like Thailand (2.4 per cent), Malaysia (4.5 per cent) and Singapore (6.6 per cent) - and recommended raising this spending share to to 2.5 per cent over the next five years.
Government cancels e-commerce tax regulation The Jakarta Post 29th Mar 2019
The Finance Ministry has revoked a regulation on tax treatment for e-commerce transactions amid pushback from digital economy players. Finance Ministerial Regulation No. 210/2018, which was signed by Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati on Dec. 31, was originally meant to be enforced on April 1. It mandates online marketplaces to collect several pieces of information, such as tax numbers (NPWP) and personal identity numbers (NIK). The regulation also stated that online transactions were subject to taxes that also applied to offline transactions, such as value-added tax (PPN) and luxury goods tax (PPnBM). Sri Mulyani said the revocation was decided amid widespread confusion among the public as the government was perceived to have been set to collect specially designed taxes for online transactions through the regulation. “We’ve retracted the regulation to cause no further confusion,” said Sri Mulyani in Jakarta on Friday.
Indonesia’s digital economy sees rapid growth The ASEAN Post 29th Mar 2019
Indonesia is one of the region’s best success stories. Despite having faced economic turmoil during the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997 under the authoritarian Suharto regime, Indonesia is today one of the fastest growing economies in the world. The main focus of its economy has been the export of goods such as textiles, automobiles, electrical appliances, and oil and gas. Indonesia’s growing digital economy has also contributed significantly to the nation’s growth and the republic is digitalising rapidly. It is forecasted that 50 million new internet users would come online in Indonesia between 2015 and 2020. Social media usage in the country is also among the highest in the world. According to a recent McKinsey report, Indonesia’s e-commerce sector is comprised of US$5 billion of formal e-tailing and more than US$3 billion of informal commerce. E-tailing businesses are the ones that many of us are familiar with and includes the likes of eBay and Amazon. In Indonesia, the notable e-tailing websites are JD, Lazada, Shopee and Tokopedia.
State to host World Congress on IT next year The Star 10th Apr 2019
MALAYSIA has once again been chosen to host the World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT), after more than 10 years since it took place in Kuala Lumpur in 2008. And, Penang will get the honour of being the host state for the event from Sept 13 to 16 next year at Setia SPICE Convention Centre in Relau. Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the state government “could not wait” to host the prestigious event. “To have the Olympic-level conference for IT in Penang means that we get to represent Malaysia on the world stage in technology and this is in line with our efforts to achieve Penang 2030 vision of a family-focused green and smart state. In conjunction with WCIT2020, Chow said the state was working alongside National ICT Association of Malaysia (Pikom) to organise an “island-wide technology festival”.
Council goes high tech The Star 10th Apr 2019
THE Seberang Prai Municipal Council (MPSP) has taken a giant step in achieving its Smart City vision by collaborating with Intel Microelectronics (M) Sdn Bhd to develop a technology platform to better manage and control information. Under the pilot project called SCoPe (Smart City of Penang), some 64 CCTV cameras enhanced with facial recognition features will be set up in several areas. Enforcement officers will monitor the footage captured by the cameras from the council’s integrated control room. Besides the CCTVs, the council will also install a total of 77 LED street lights and sensors, six units of ultra long-range communication systems and 15 environment sensors. “The journey towards becoming a smart city has been challenging with certain issues such as infrastructure, financial and technology restricting our progress.
Important Changes to the Malaysia Data Privacy Regime Lexology 9th Apr 2019
The Malaysia Personal Data Protection Act applies to all companies operating in Malaysia, as well as persons not established in Malaysia, if they use equipment in Malaysia for the processing of personal data otherwise than for the purposes of transit through Malaysia. Malaysia is planning to amend its data protection laws to introduce a data breach notification regime and a wide expansion of the rights of data subjects. Once in effect, companies are required to, among other things, 1) provide detailed summaries of data breaches to the Malaysian Personal Data Protection Commissioner (the Commissioner), including the type and amount of personal data compromised; 2) implement containment and control measures and outline in detail the measures taken to minimize the impact of the breach; 3) notify the Commissioner within 72 hours of becoming aware of a breach, providing details on the method in which the company is notifying the affected data subjects and the advice it is giving to those subjects; and 4) instill data protection training programs and provide details to the Commissioner about the content of those programs, including whether company employees received training in the last 24 months. The Communications and Multimedia Minister has stressed the need for a refresh of the legislation, in a process that should take the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) into consideration. The proposed amendments could mean wide-scale alterations to business practices and the need to adopt practices similar to those required by the GDPR.
Foreign-registered digital service providers to be taxed 6% from next January The Star 8th Apr 2019
Foreign-registered digital service providers will be taxed 6% beginning Jan 1 next year after the Dewan Rakyat passed the Service Tax (Amendment) Bill 2019 on Monday (April 8). Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Amiruddin Hamzah said the move was to create a level playing field for service providers. "It is not fair for local service providers to be subjected to taxes when foreign providers are exempted. The service tax (for providers) is not new, we are just expanding the scope of it," he said when winding up during the debates on the Bill. Amiruddin said other countries have already started charging such service providers while some are in the midst of coming up with similar laws in their respective nations. Among the countries that have already started charging such taxes include Russia, Korea, Norway and New Zealand, among others. Amiruddin said that Norway charges 25% while Russia and New Zealand impose 18% and 15% respectively.
Blockchain-based authentication technology to tackle cybercrimes New Straits Times 7th Apr 2019
Korean-based FNS Value Co. Ltd is collaborating with two local companies, BIT Group Sdn Bhd and Nada Sepakat Corporation (M) Sdn Bhd to introduce and provide blockchain-based authentication technology in Malaysia and across the region. The Tripartite Agreement will see BIT Group Sdn Bhd act as its Solution Consultant and Architect and Nada Sepakat Corporation (M) Sdn Bhd as its Relationship Consultant in Malaysia. The blockchain technology is said to be an undeniably ingenious invention by a group of people and since then, has evolved into something greater. By allowing digital information to be distributed but not copied, blockchain technology created the backbone of a new type of Internet. Nada Sepakat Group Principal IT Consultant Simon Cham explains that as consumers eagerly await for the rollout of the next generation 5G mobile network that promises faster speed, better coverage, and more responsive connections, there will be a substantial increase in the deployment of online services and applications. “However, there are also increases in cybercrimes as criminals take advantage of the relative ease of gaining unauthorised access to online personal accounts either through hacking, deception, phishing, or simply buying accounts together with the passwords from the Internet.
MCMC: 5G opens new frontiers for innovation in Msia New Straits Times 6th Apr 2019
The all-new fifth generation (5G) mobile technology, which promises ultra-fast speeds and low latency, can open up innovation opportunities in various sectors. The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission’s (MCMC) Digital Sector Technology & Standards Division chief Dr Ahmad Nasruddin ‘Atiqullah Fakhrullah said although the technology is still in its introductory stage in the country, it should be seen as an opportunity for all parties to move forward with technology. “For example, in agriculture, we can see how technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) can increase productivity. There are drones that can be used to spray fertilisers and this can greatly reduce the cost of manpower and human resources. “By using technology, farmers can ‘upgrade’ themselves and consequently achieve better yields,” he told Bernama after appearing as a guest on Bernama News Channel’s Nine11 programme at Wisma Bernama, yesterday. Nasruddin said there are three key features offered by the 5G technology, namely ‘enhanced mobile broadband’ or high-speed data, ‘ultra-reliable low-latency’ or fast response; and ‘massive machine-type communication’ that can connect one million devices within one square-kilometre.
National cyber security strategy to be implemented middle of this year - DPM New Straits Times 3rd Apr 2019
The Dewan Rakyat was told today that the National Cyber Security Agency will implement a comprehensive security strategy by midyear to address cyber threats. Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the strategy would be executed through resource mobilisation and infrastructure development of the National Cyber Security Workforce. Dr Wan Azizah was replying to a question by Ahmad Fadhli Shaari (Pas-Pasir Mas) on efforts put in place by the government to combat cyber threats that could also endanger the nation's sovereignty. It was reported that the Communications and Multimedia Ministry was working on increasing online security to, among others, protect personal information of internet users. "Growing dependence on useful technology, at the same time, can pose threats and new challenges to national security management. Dr Wan Azizah said setting up of National Cyber Crisis Management Plan was also part of the proactive measures taken in the event of cyber attacks.
MDEC to complete National AI Framework by year-end New Straits Times 2nd Apr 2019
Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation Sdn Bhd (MDEC) is expected to complete the development of the National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Framework by year-end to drive the country’s AI ecosystem. MDEC data economy director Dr Karl Ng Kah Hou said the framework development, which began last year, was an expansion of the previous National Big Data Analytics Framework, which was launched in 2015. “The framework will only be implemented after receiving the approval of the government,” he said on the sidelines of the Microsoft Innovation Summit 2019, here, today. According to a recent study conducted by Microsoft and IDC Asia Pacific, Malaysia is not ready for AI and needs to focus on all areas, particularly investment and data to accelerate its AI journey. IDC Asia Pacific Datacentre Group research director Jun Fwu Chin said Malaysia only scored 1.59 for investment readiness and 1.65 for data readiness in the AI Readiness Index. “Whereas, Asia Pacific’s readiness for investments and data stood at 2.43 and 2.35, respectively, showing that Malaysia is still lagging behind its regional peers,” he said. The AI Readiness Index ranges from one to four, with a higher score indicating a higher level of readiness for AI adoption.
MCMC: Telcos have to optimise 4G network to get ready for 5G The Star 28th Mar 2019
As the full adoption of 5G is potentially years away, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) says it’s essential that the current 4G networks are fully enhanced and optimised to address congestion. It says our 4G networks suffer from low throughput of 9Mbps (megabits per second) or 36% below average at certain periods due to congestion or bottlenecks between network elements like the radio interface and core network. MCMC chief digital officer Gerard K M Lim says in a statement that this is due to the networks being only partially fiberised – for instance, only 40% of the Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) are fully fiberised. He says the average 4G download speed in Malaysia now stands at 21.1Mbps. If the core network upgrade work is overlooked the same throughput issue currently plaguing the country will remain when 5G rolls around, with a potential bottleneck between the BTS and core network, he adds.
Globe in talks to share towers with third player Mislatel Business World 9th Apr 2019
GLOBE Telecom, Inc. and the Mislatel consortium, the group selected to step in as the telecommunications industry’s “third player,” said they are now in discussions to share tower assets to reduce the cost and duration of the infrastructure buildout. In a hearing on common tower policy by the House of Representatives Committee on Information and Communication Technology, representatives from the two telcos confirmed they are looking at possible ways to use Globe’s passive assets. Mislatel Spokesperson Adel A. Tamano confirmed that talks are under way, and that the third player has always wanted a shared tower setup with incumbents Globe and Smart Communications, Inc.
Dominguez to SSS: Use technology to reduce costs Philippines Star 8th Apr 2019
State-run Social Security System (SSS) needs to reduce its overhead expenses by utilizing digital tools to improve the delivery of services to its members, a top official of the Social Security Commission (SSC) said over the weekend. In a statement, new SSC chairman and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said the state fund needs to be more prudent in managing its expenses as the fund comes from the savings of Filipino workers. As such, Dominguez said the SSS should digitize its systems in order to reduce operational costs. “The new SSS law has provided the means to beef up the pension fund through contribution rate adjustments. Our role now is to digitize processes that will make it easier for members to access services. Modernizing systems will also eventually save on costs and other operating expenses,” he said. Based on the Social Security Act of 2018, the SSS is allowed to spend no more than 12 percent of total yearly contributions, plus three percent of other revenues for administrative and operational expenses, such as salaries and wages, supplies and materials, and the maintenance of offices of the SSS.
Globe turns over digital program to Department of Education Philippines Star 4th Apr 2019
Telecommunications company Globe has turned over to the Department of Education (DepEd) the management of its Global Filipino Schools (GFS) program, which involves the provision of schools with free internet connectivity and information communication technology tools. “Technology and innovation are major drivers of progress and we recognize their importance in improving performance and facilitating learning of students and teachers,” Globe chief sustainability officer and senior vice president for corporate communications Yoly Crisanto said. “With GFS now under the DepEd, we hope to open doors for more public schools to experience education that is not limited to the four corners of the classroom and not bounded by physical textbooks or paper and pen so that borderless learning can take place,” Crisanto added. During the turnover on Friday, Education Undersecretary Tonisito Umali stressed the importance of equipping classrooms with tools that will enable students to be competent with 21st century skills and knowledge. “Initiatives like GFS that introduce new ways of educating our youth are very important in helping the country keep pace with the rest of the world. We are looking forward to having more public schools adopt technology through internet connectivity and mobile tech solutions that GFS provides,” Umali said. With the turnover, Globe said the DepEd would be able to closely monitor how technology improves teaching and learning for possible replication in other public schools not covered by the program.
DICT urged to look into hacking of AFP, government websites Philippines Star 3rd Apr 2019
Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian called on the Department of Information and Communications Technology to thoroughly investigate the hacking of several government, military and educational institution websites. Hacking group Pinoy LulzSec hacked several websites, including military servers with database of Filipino soldiers, as an April Fool's joke last Monday. "Isn't it funny and challenging to do when you hacked secured military servers and dump the database?" Pinoy LulzSec said on Twitter. Gatchalian raised alarm that the group was able to hack and deface government websites, including the Philippine Army. "Let us not forget that they are the same group that leaked the Comelec database in 2016, exposing voters' private data to the world wide web," Gatchalian said on Wednesday. The senator said the government should also take steps to secure information structures and government networks. "It bears pointing out that even the official Senate website does not currently use a secure connection," he said.
Free internet in terminals bill awaits Duterte signature Philippines Star 2nd Apr 2019
The bill mandating transport terminals to provide free internet services and clean toilets for commuters is now awaiting President Duterte’s signature. Congress recently transmitted to Malacañang Senate Bill 1749, or the proposed “Act to Improve Land Transportation Terminals, Stations, Stops, Rest Areas and Roll-On/Roll-Off Terminals.” The enrolled bill was adopted by the House of Representatives and transmitted by the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office to the Office of the President last March 21. It will lapse into law if Duterte does not sign it after 30 days from receipt. Sen. Grace Poe, chairperson of the Senate committee on public services and principal author of the measure, expressed hope the President will immediately sign the measure as many students are expected to return to their provinces this school break. She also took note of families who spend time during summer in the country’s various tourist destinations.
BAP to launch digital ID registry in 2019 Philippines Star 28th Mar 2019
The Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP), under the new leadership of Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) President and CEO Cezar P. Consing, looks forward to the launch of the digital banking ID registry this year as it continues to pursue innovation and financial inclusion for the benefit of the country. Consing, during the BAP annual membership meeting held on March 25, 2019, expressed his gratitude to former BAP President Nestor Tan for the latter's steadfast leadership for three consecutive years, during which the BAP developed the foundation for the BAP ID registry and increased its focus on cybersecurity. "The Philippine banking industry is transforming itself so as to continue to be relevant to one of the world's fastest growing economies. Digitalization, cybersecurity, and financial liberalization are issues foremost on bankers' minds. The overall objective is increasing financial inclusion -- the imperative of our times," said Consing. The BAP ID registry in particular will set the foundation for e-KYC (electronic know-your-customer) and future use cases. This facility, powered by blockchain technology, will make it easier and faster for clients to open accounts and avail of banking services with BAP’s member banks. The technology employs an unalterable distributed ledger of transactions used to ascertain and vet transactions and client identity. Several of the BAP member banks are already developing the systems to be able to interface with the ID registry.
Singapore wins international award for AI governance and ethics initiatives Digital News Asia 10th Apr 2019
SINGAPORE announced that its work in Artificial Intelligence (AI) Governance and Ethics has won a top award at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Prizes. The winners of the 18 categories2 of the WSIS Prizes were announced on April 9 during an award ceremony at the annual WSIS Forum held in Geneva, Switzerland. Singapore won in the “Ethical Dimensions of the Information Society” category, beating four other finalists across the globe. The WSIS Prizes recognise outstanding digital projects globally, which foster socioeconomic development across categories such as e-government, e-environment, e-science and media, and ethics in IT. Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) assistant chief executive (Data Protection and Innovation) Yeong Zee Kin received the prize at the ceremony in Geneva. Singapore’s AI Governance and Ethics initiatives aim to build an ecosystem of trust to support AI adoption.
NTUC rolls out digital skills training certificate for manufacturing workers The Business Times 10th Apr 2019
A NEW training programme has been launched to help manufacturing workers pick up digital skills such as coding and using emerging technology. The Worker 4.0 Digital Readiness Certificate, which is made up of 17 short modules, will be offered to at least 1,000 workers in manufacturing industries this year. National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) deputy secretary-general Koh Poh Koon said on Wednesday that the scheme should help to bridge the skills gap faced by technicians and associate professionals (TAPs). "We have been hearing from the ground that the available digital training courses that are out in the marketplace are pegged at professional, managerial and executive level, and technicians and associate professionals sometimes find it rather difficult to find suitable courses to meet their learning needs," he said at an event to launch the certificate at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College Central.
Data-driven design framework for public healthcare facilities The Straits Times 4th Apr 2019
A new framework for smart healthcare infrastructure has been developed to help public healthcare facilities better harness technology and make decisions driven by data. Under the framework, future hospitals and other facilities will be designed with the help of data analytics and other technologies such as virtual reality (VR), said Ms Yvonne Lim, deputy director of healthcare infrastructure projects at the Ministry of Health's holding company for public healthcare assets, MOH Holdings. Workflow simulations and evidence-informed design can help architects and designers improve the layout of a new facility's buildings, she said. Mock-ups of the facilities can then be done in VR so doctors and other healthcare professionals can provide feedback on how to improve the building plan before it gets built. Ms Lim announced the details of the framework yesterday at the Healthcare Infrastructure Technology and Engineering Conference held in Max Atria at the Singapore Expo. As part of the framework, a database of smart technology products and equipment - referred to as smart enablers - has been compiled, including Internet of Things devices, air quality sensors and computer systems. These smart enablers can be used to predict, for example, when a lift will need maintenance, or to monitor and optimise the indoor air quality to balance patient comfort and energy usage, Ms Lim said.
$540m boost for digital research, innovation The Nation 2nd Apr 2019
A national research fund in Singapore will set aside an additional S$540 million (Bt12.6 billion) for the creation of artificial intelligence (AI) systems to identify patients predisposed to chronic diseases like diabetes, robots to perform menial tasks and wearable sensors to provide early intervention for heart failure. The financial boost will also lead to the development of other projects that will deepen the nation's expertise in digital technologies and automation through the fund called the Research, Innovation and Enterprise 2020 Plan. The five-year fund, first announced in 2016, is managed by the National Research Foundation |(NRF). With the $540 million top-up, the $19 billion fund will now see a total of $900 million allocated to research and development (R&D) in fields like AI, robotics and supercomputers. The funding boost was announced at the 11th Research, Innovation and Enterprise Council meeting last week with council members taking stock of the progress on the fund's aim to support R&D in Singapore.
Parliament: Public agencies not governed by PDPA because of fundamental differences in how they operate The Straits Times 1st Apr 2019
Public agencies are not governed by the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) because there are fundamental differences in how the public sector operates compared to the private sector, said Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran in Parliament on Monday (April 1). Mr Iswaran noted that public sector agencies have to comply with Government Instruction Manuals and the Public Sector (Governance) Act (PSGA). Collectively, these provide comparable, if not higher, standards of data protection compared to the PDPA, he said, adding that similar investigations and enforcement actions are taken against data security breaches. Mr Iswaran was responding to Nominated MP Irene Quay's question about whether it is justifiable for public agencies to be exempted from the PDPA. The PDPA is a data protection law that governs the collection, use, disclosure and care of personal data. "Implicit in the Member's question is the presumption that public sector agencies are not accountable for their data protection practices or not held to a high standard because the PDPA does not apply to them," he said. "That is wrong and simply not the case."
Committee to review data security in public service The Straits Times 1st Apr 2019
A new committee to review and strengthen data security practices across the entire public service has been set up by the Government following a series of data-related incidents. The Public Sector Data Security Review Committee - convened by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong - will look into how data is collected and protected by the agencies, vendors and authorised third parties, and recommend improvements. It will recommend technical measures and capabilities to improve the Government's response to incidents and protection of citizens' data, and develop an action plan to implement them in the immediate and longer term. In a statement yesterday, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said the committee will be chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who is also Coordinating Minister for National Security and Minister-in-charge of Public Sector Data Governance. It will include private sector representatives with expertise in data security and technology, and the four ministers involved in Singapore's Smart Nation efforts.
Singapore introduces new law to combat the spread of fake news Lexology 1st Apr 2019
On 1 April 2019, the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Bill was tabled in Singapore’s Parliament. The bill aims to stem the communication of false statements of fact, enable the detection and control of information manipulation, and promote the transparency of online political advertisements. Any person or organisation that spreads online falsehoods with malicious intent to harm the public interest in Singapore could face a fine of up to SGD 500,000 or, in the case of an individual, a five-year imprisonment term. Such a statement would be considered harm to the public interest if its communication is likely to prejudice Singapore’s security, public health and safety, or foreign relations or to influence election results, incite hatred, or diminish public confidence in the performance of any public function. The bill covers only false statements of fact, i.e., that a reasonable person perceiving the statement would consider it to be a “representation of fact”. As such, opinions are not caught by the new law. Also, persons who innocently (as opposed to maliciously) share a false statement of fact will not be criminally liable, but may be required to correct or remove the relevant post.
Singapore to invest more in digital, food tech, cell therapy R&D The Business Times 28th Mar 2019
FOLLOWING the mid-term review of the five-year Research, Innovation and Enterprise 2020 (RIE2020) plan, Singapore will be investing more in research and development (R&D) in the three areas of digital technology, cell therapy manufacturing and sustainable urban food production, including cultured meat and microbial proteins. This was announced by National Research Foundation (NRF) chairman and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat at the end of the 11th Research, Innovation and Enterprise Council Meeting on Wednesday. At a press conference at the end of the meeting, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said of the mid-term review: "We have affirmed that we are on track, but we are sharpening our focus and making fine-tuning adjustments to the plans." For Singapore to succeed in its research, innovation and enterprise efforts, the country must first continue to emphasise science and technology throughout society, said Mr Lee. He warned against the danger of having people who are "fearful and distrustful of science" and held captive by anti-scientific beliefs such as distrusting vaccines.
NBTC flees from OTT surcharge plan Bangkok Post 10th Apr 2019
The telecom regulator has backtracked on its plan to impose a surcharge on network bandwidth usage by over-the-top (OTT) service providers such as Facebook and Line, after the proposal was widely criticised by telecom veterans and the public last week. Takorn Tantasith, secretary-general of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), said he will scrap the planned motion to raise network bandwidth usage surcharges at August's Asean regulatory meeting, which will be held in Bangkok. "Public perception differs from the regulator's intentions," he said. The surcharge would have been based on the amount of OTT bandwidth used, aiming to indirectly force OTT providers to pay a surcharge to international internet gateway (IIG) operators if the OTT were classified as a "big OTT". Mr Takorn said the move would implement a measure of fairness for the telecom operators that created the network infrastructure and would also generate revenue for the state coffers.
Firms urge soft loans for robotics adoption Bangkok Post 5th Apr 2019
Local business operators are calling for the government to launch soft loan measures for companies to encourage investment in robotics and automation, says the Industry Ministry. Siriruj Chulakaratana, the ministry's deputy permanent secretary, said it is working on a new plan to propose to Pasu Loharjun, permanent secretary for acknowledgement and approval. "Thailand's industrial development plan emphasises adoption of robotics and automation in the private sector, with financial support from government agencies," he said. Mr Siriruj said the S-curve policy, which includes robotics and automation, has received a positive response from companies, but to create new demand financial incentives are needed to encourage investment in technology for operations and manufacturing. The ministry's development plan also aims to generate demand for electric vehicles, another S-curve industry, he said.
AIC: Thai plans a barrier to OTT growth Bangkok Post 5th Apr 2019
The Asia Internet Coalition (AIC), which represents global internet companies, calls the telecom regulator's planned measures a barrier to growth of the over-the-top (OTT) service industry that contributes 36 billion baht and created 30,000 jobs for Thailand's economy. Jeff Paine, the AIC's managing director, said he was surprised that Thailand is considering measures that could disrupt the growth of the OTT sector. Internet platforms and services have enabled creative and entrepreneurial locals to build businesses that reach a global audience and marketplace, far beyond Thailand, creating significant value for everyone across the digital value chain, he said. It's critical that the OTT sector can continue to create such opportunity, especially in line with Thailand 4.0 ambitions to become an inclusive economy supported by creativity, innovation and technology, Mr Paine said. With Thailand's leadership of Asean this year, the AIC wants the government to take a holistic and long-term view towards digital economy policy, especially in supporting sectors like OTT that have a role to play in national and regional economic success.
IIG operators slam NBTC initiative Bangkok Post 5th Apr 2019
International internet gateway (IIG) operators and telecom veterans have poured scorn on the telecom regulator's request to categorise internet traffic by local or over-the-top service, calling the idea impractical, a breach of user data and a barrier to Thailand's digital economy development. The initiative by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) is seen as "using a sledgehammer to crack a nut" or, in Thai parlance, "riding an elephant to chase a grasshopper", said Weeradej Panichwisai, telecom research manager and head of operations at IDC Thailand. The criticism came after the NBTC on Wednesday floated a plan to impose a network bandwidth usage surcharge on internet traffic provided by over-the-top (OTT) service providers like Facebook, YouTube, Line and Netflix, which offer video streaming that takes up an outsize portion of internet traffic. The surcharge would be based on the amount of OTT bandwidth used. DIGITAL DISRUPTER Vichai Bencharongkul, honorary president of the Telecommunication Association of Thailand, said the NBTC's idea of collecting OTT charges via IIGs would create a barrier to development of the digital economy, reflecting the fact that Thailand leads Asean in digital cross-border traffic but not in digital development itself.
Govt mulls imposing service provider fees Bangkok Post 4th Apr 2019
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) is floating an idea to force over-the-top (OTT) service providers to pay what it calls "traffic usage fees" to internal internet gateway (IIG) operators in the country. The planned payment will be calculated on the volume of incoming data traffic of the OTT services, which provide film and TV content via the internet. The move aims to come up with fair and proper measures for telecom network owners who have invested heavily to expand their networks. It is also aimed at paving the way for the adoption of fifth-generation (5G) technology next year when data traffic growth of mobile devices will rise rapidly. NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasith said the idea is not aimed at collecting more taxes for the state as had been previously discussed. Mr Takorn said under the scheme the telecom regulator will cooperate with IIG operators to classify OTT service operators from the volume of their traffic usage. They will be split into two groups, small OTT service providers and more major ones.
Smart cities development to be given a big push The Nation 3rd Apr 2019
The Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA) aims to set up smart cities to cover 77 provinces within the next five years. The agency next year will set up 13 smart cities in the provinces and will join business partners to showcase smart city solutions. Passakorn Prathombuts, DEPA’s senior executive vice president, said the agency aims to develop smart cities to cover 77 provinces in the next five years in order to improve the quality of life and boost the country’s competitiveness. The agency aims to play the role of a facilitator to support both the private and public sectors in helping the development of smart cities. The agency, under the City Dara platform, will collect unstructured and structured information such as traffic data, CCTV, WiFi access and transportation to create a mega-data market place of the cities. In the next step, the agency plans to develop various solutions for smart city development, including smart environment, smart mobility, smart people, smart governance, smart energy, smart living and smart economy.
China's titans push cloud AI Bangkok Post 3rd Apr 2019
Chinese tech giants are flocking to invest in Thailand's growing cloud-based artificial intelligence (AI) services sector, worth an estimated US$157 million (4.98 billion baht) this year. The major players on the scene are Tencent, which has partnered with True IDC to implement local cloud computing services; Huawei, which also offers local cloud; and Alibaba, which offers cloud services with data stored outside Thailand. Experts are pushing the new government to enact regulation to keep Thailand's data stored locally in a bid to attract more investment in the country. Cloud service providers say post-election instability could impact investment in technology and inhibit companies' digital transformation. Chang Foo, chief operating officer of Tencent Thailand, said the company chose to open its cloud-based service centre in Thailand as its first in Southeast Asia out of 25 global locations because Tencent has operated in Thailand for over a decade.
Big trio team up to launch 5G testbeds Bangkok Post 2nd Apr 2019
Total Access Communication (DTAC) joined hands with TOT Plc and CAT Telecom on Monday to launch 5G testbeds at Chulalongkorn University and the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) under a public-private partnership (PPP) model. The tests, scheduled to begin operations in July, will include both lab and live testing of 5G use cases at the two sites, focusing on smart farming, smart cities and environmental uses. Third-ranked mobile operator DTAC is urging the government to develop a spectrum roadmap comprising high-, mid- and low-band spectrum with a clear allocation timeline for driving 5G adoption before launching commercial services. "Collaboration is the key to success and a critical milestone in the roll-out of 5G in Thailand," said Alexandra Reich, chief executive of DTAC. She said 5G technology needs much more collaboration from vertical industries through co-investing and co-innovation.
Digital transition pushes DNS Bangkok Post 2nd Apr 2019
Rapid growth of Internet of Things (IoT) and digital transformation are driving demand for security and faster network service through the Domain Name System (DNS), says a global DNS provider. "With the advent of the Thailand 4.0 policy, we have found nine out of 10 businesses plan to undergo digital transformation to ensure customers have a great experience online," said Michelle Zatlyn, co-founder of Cloudflare, a US-based DNS service provider. Cloudflare helps businesses improve their online presence and expand their global presence while reducing cyber-risks. The company uses globally distributed networks to offer faster and more secure servers. Ms Zatlyn said more everyday appliances are going online, with smartphones becoming most people's main device. Businesses have to make sure they work fast and are protected from cyber-risks. Businesses in Asia are adopting multi-cloud service providers, which Cloudflare can help manage to safely conduct business in different markets.
State project delays hit computer sales Bangkok Post 29th Mar 2019
Rising political uncertainty is expected to affect Thailand's computer market this year, causing it to contract by single digits, down to 2.2 million units in sales, because of a delay in state projects, say leading IT analysts. Consumers will still drive growth, especially for gaming computers and ultra-slim notebooks. "If the new government postpones bidding on projects, the local personal computer [PC] market comprising desktops and notebooks will contract 1% in 2019 as public agencies are reluctant to purchase new computers. We will start to see an impact in the third quarter," said Peerapat Samarnmit, market analyst for IDC Thailand, a global technology research firm. The overall PC market in 2018 recorded sales of 2.3 million units, but this year the projection is for 2.2 million units, of which 68% will come from consumers and 32% corporations and the government, said IDC Thailand. The only growth segment is consumer spending as there is strong demand for tailor-made gaming desktops (build-your-own PCs) and gaming notebooks. PC makers offer more affordable gaming devices that attract a wider audience, gaining from the popularity of e-sports.
Vietnam IT outsourcing conference to be held in HCM City Voice of Vietnam 10th Apr 2019
The Vietnam Information Technology Outsourcing (VNITO) Conference will take place in Ho Chi Minh City from October 23 to 25. The information was revealed at a workshop held in the city on April 9 by the VNITO Alliance, Quang Trung Software City (QTSC), the Ho Chi Minh City Computer Association, and the Silicon Valley Global Innovation Centre. The event is expected to draw over 150 international delegates from IT and high-tech firms; multinational companies from countries such as Japan, the US, the Republic of Korea, and Singapore; as well as over 100 Vietnamese solution providers. The key fields of VNITO 2019 are financial technology, automobiles, e-commerce, software outsourcing, high-tech agriculture, innovation (artificial intelligence, blockchain, Big Data, and Internet of Things), and digital transformation. Themed “Vietnam – The Emerged Destination for Innovation”, the conference looks to create a platform for Vietnamese companies to introduce their IT products, services, and solutions, while connecting domestic businesses with foreign partners.
Deputy PM urges firms to embrace digital transformation Voice of Vietnam 6th Apr 2019
Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue has urged domestic firms to embrace digital transformation at a recent business forum. Addressing the CEO Forum 2019 in Hanoi on April 5, the Deputy PM said the fourth industrial revolution has a strong impact on the economy and society around the world and all sectors and fields with unprecedented speed. As Vietnam is deeply integrated into the world economy, the country faces many challenges but also has multiple opportunities, he told the forum, stressing that to shorten the development gap with other countries, digital transformation is a vital step for businesses to stay afloat in the Industry 4.0 era. Deputy PM Hue said in recent years, the Party and State have advocated the transformation of the growth model based on the application of science, technology and innovation to improve productivity, quality and the competitiveness of the economy. “The Government has been continuously improving the business and investment environment , strengthening macro-economic foundation, promoting entrepreneurship and creating the most favourable conditions to support business development,” he said. He noted that the Prime Minister and the Government have adopted drastic measures to develop an e-Government, building a digital economy, embracing digital transformation and applying 5G technology, building an institutional framework to pilot new business models such as non-cash payment, e-payment, peer-to-peer lending and shared economy.
Việt Nam hit by 620 cyber attacks in Q1 Vietnam News 2nd Apr 2019
Việt Nam suffered 620 cyber attacks in the first three months of this year, down by about 50 per cent compared with last year’s figure, according to a report by the Authority of Information Security (AIS) under the Ministry of Information and Communications. The number of IP addresses categorised in ghost computer networks (botnets) was 1,845,133, a decrease of 56 per cent compared with the same period last year. As many as 54 enterprises have been granted business licences to trade and provide network security services in the first quarter of the year. “These figures show that the cyber security in Việt Nam has seen positive changes. In particular, campaigns to handle malicious code in Hà Nội and HCM City by the Ministry of Information and Communications have achieved certain results,” the AIS said in a statement. Experts from the AIS recommended that there were many websites that look similar to those of organisations, businesses and service providers so users should be wary of fake websites to avoid hackers stealing their accounts. To limit the risk of losing information, people should be vigilant in providing their personal and payment information for online services.
VN to raise VNĐ1.7 trillion to build national innovation centre Vietnam News 2nd Apr 2019
Việt Nam plans to raise VNĐ1.7 trillion (US$71.5 million) of investment from the private and foreign sectors to develop the national innovation centre (NIC). According to a draft project which the Ministry of Planning and Investment recently submitted to the Government for consideration, the NIC will be built on 23 hectares in Hòa Lạc Hi-tech Park, without using any State funds. Building the NIC aims to boost technology and innovation capacity of Vietnamese firms and improve labour productivity and the economy’s competitiveness. The ministry said Vietnamese firms were still limited technologically and most had not applied new technologies, citing findings of the Ministry of Industry and Trade that 98 per cent of manufacturing companies of Việt Nam had not made or just made modest preparations for Industry 4.0. The proposed priorities for the NIC are smart factories, smart cities, digital media and entertainment, network security and environmental technology. The ministry said creating favourable conditions for research and development, innovation and start-ups was necessary for the success of the NIC, adding that preferential policies were being mulled, such as zero land use fees, reductions in personal income tax and import tax exemptions for research equipment.
Central city debuts IT Park, starting aerospace industry Vietnam News Agency 30th Mar 2019
Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam and representatives of Đà Nẵng and ministries officially inaugurated the first stage of the Đà Nẵng Information Technology Park (DITP) after one year of construction at a ceremony yesterday. The DITP, which is the country’s largest centralised information technology centre, is being built in central Việt Nam’s ‘Silicon Valley’ with total investment of $120 million in two stages. The park, invested and built by Trung Nam Group, will be open to its first investors from the second quarter of 2019 with the aim of creating more opportunities for IT investors flocking to the city by 2023. It expects to create revenue of $1.5 billion each year with 25,000 jobs and a satellite city of 100,000 people. “The inauguration of the country’s largest IT park was seen as a positive action for Đà Nẵng’s leadership in preparation for the 4th Industrial Revolution, and creating a magnet to giant investors in IT,” Đam said at the ceremony. “The city has achieved its dream of opening a hub of innovation that connects IT parks, research institutes and universities nationwide and globally,” he said.