ICT Update: December 6, 2019

ICT Update | December 6, 2019
Authors: Jamie Lim and Taylor Dumaine
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 

December 10 SGT/December 9 EST: Monthly ICT Committee Call. Join the ICT Committee for our final call of 2019. Register for the call here. For questions, contact Jamie Lim at jlim@usasean.org

December 11 SGT/December 10 EST: Data Governance Sub-Committee Meeting. Join the Council for our Data Governance Sub-Committee Call. Register here. For questions, contact Jamie Lim at jlim@usasean.org.

 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Singapore’s Government Agencies to Increase Personal Data Security

On November 27, the Government of Singapore announced that it has accepted recommendations submitted by the Public Sector Data Security Review Committee (PSDSRC) to address safeguarding personal data. New measures include only collecting individual’s data when “strictly necessary.” Citizens will now be notified in a timelier manner if any of their data is compromised, and there will be a single contact point for the public to report data incidents. Public sector officers will also be required to complete a yearly data security training program. The PSDSRC was established in March of this year to develop solutions to protect private data after a string of cybersecurity breaches over the past year. The Committee is chaired by Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security, Teo Chee Hean, and is composed of Ministers involved in Singapore's Smart Nation initiative as well as private sector experts on data security and technology.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loon reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to personal data protection, especially in the age of the growing digital economy. The Prime Minister also highlighted that the use of data is essential for economic growth and the improvement of public services, but that citizens should also have a right to data privacy and security. The new measures are aimed at protecting data while continuing to encourage digital innovation.

Earlier this year, the PSDSRC released 13 technical measures to better secure personal data through digital solutions and IT tools. More recent measures are dedicated to changing the systems of e-government that leave data vulnerable, and to improving the detection and response to such breaches. The Digital Government Executive Committee will oversee implementation, and the revisions will be implemented in 80 percent of government systems by the end of 2021, with the remainder implemented by the end of 2023.

Digital government is a growing and important trend across Southeast Asia. Thailand has recently announced plans to digitize government entirely by 2022, and Indonesia by 2024. Malaysia has also been at the forefront of digital government with its Kembara Digital Malaysia Program. Vietnam has passed a resolution to have 30 percent of public services online by 2020. Cambodia and Laos have also expressed interest in adopting e-government services. E-government is designed to make access to resources and information easier for citizens and business, and increase overall efficiency. This growing digital government trend is important for economic development; and governments must be able to ensure they can effectively tackle evolving data security risks, while balancing it with the need to innovate and share data within the public sector.

Indonesia Issues New E-Commerce Regulation; Makes Foreign Internet Companies Pay Taxes

On November 25, the Indonesian Government issued Government Regulation No. 80/2019 on Trade through Electronic Systems, which will regulate e-commerce activities in the country. Through this regulation, foreign-based companies that actively trade electronically in Indonesia will also be taxed equally to those that have a physical presence. The new regulation applies to e-commerce companies as well as any company that generate significant online traffic from Indonesia. Companies will be liable if they meet a certain criteria, although no specifics about the criterion have been released.

The new regulation also calls for each company to appoint a local representative in Indonesia. Foreign companies will also be required to pay both value added and corporate taxes. Authorities also noted that there will be a two-year grace period from the day of implementation for businesses who had been conducting operations before the regulation came into effect. Many local players welcomed the new regulation, in a move that officials believe will create a fair and leveled playing field.

The regulatory environment for doing business in Indonesia is already a very complicated environment to move through, and this additional hurdle could have a significant negative impact on business and innovation. The Council continues to support conversations at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to avoid countries unilaterally imposing digital taxes and encourages governments to develop tax regimes that enable innovation and participation in their markets. During our meeting with the Ministry of Finance on the Council's 2019 Indonesia Business Mission earlier this week, Minister Sri Mulyani noted that Indonesia will aim to align their digital tax regime with the OECD framework. Whereas full details on the proposed digital tax have not been released, it will be part of Indonesia’s Omnibus Law on Taxation, which the Government is planning to issue in 2020.

There are inherent differences between companies that have a physical presence in a country and those that operate digitally, and taxing these two types of entities in the same way would have negative effects on digital economy development. The Council is currently working on a translation of Government Regulation No. 80/2019 for members, and will continue to explore channels to engage with the Government of Indonesia on this new regulation.

 
ADVOCACY UPDATE
 
 

Call for Input: Malaysia Digital Policy Consultative Forum

The Council is currently seeking input from members on our draft concept note for an upcoming Digital Policy Consultative Forum (DPCF) we are planning to host in Malaysia in March 2020. The Malaysia DPCF will be a two-day forum focused on topics around e-commerce, digital trade and digital data governance. Targeted participants for this DPCF include Director-level representatives from the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation, Ministry of Communications and Multimedia, Ministry of Finance, and Bank Negara Malaysia, among others. If interested, please reach out to Jamie Lim (jlim@usasean.org) to receive a copy of the draft concept note.

Call for Input: Use Cases for the ASEAN Data Classification Framework

The Council has been asked to invite members to share use cases with Singapore's Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC), to support the development of the ASEAN Data Classification Framework. PDPC aims to release a concept note by January 2020 for consultation among ASEAN Member States and their key stakeholders. Use cases should cover: (i) scenarios requiring data flows; (ii) data elements involved; (iii) purpose of data transfer; and (iv) levels of data protection afforded.

The ASEAN Data Classification Framework is one of the four initiatives outlined under the ASEAN Framework on Digital Data Governance. If interested to share any use cases, or for more information, please contact Jamie Lim (jlim@usasean.org).

U.S.-Singapore Cybersecurity Technical Assistance Programme (CTAP): February 2020

On December 3, the US-ASEAN Business Council, along with AmCham Singapore, BSA, U.S. Embassy Singapore and the Cybersecurity Agency of Singapore, held a briefing session on the upcoming U.S.-Singapore Cybersecurity Technical Assistance Programme (CTAP) workshop on Optimizing CERT Capabilities in ASEAN. The CTAP is tentatively scheduled for February 18-21, 2020. We are currently seeking out the following:

  • Trainers to provide hands-on training for half-day sessions on the following topics:
    • Threat Hunting and Monitoring
    • Incident/Vulnerability Handling
    • Information Sharing
    • Use of AI/Machine Learning in Cybersecurity
    • Forensics and Malware Analysis
  • Panelists and moderator for the following discussion sessions:
    • Strengthening the Capabilities of National CERT
    • Cyber Threat Landscape

As this is a joint industry effort, please note that opportunities for industry participation for the February workshop are limited. If your company is interested to participate in the CTAP workshop in February, please contact Jamie Lim at jlim@usasean.org along with your session of interest by Friday, December 6.

 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
Cambodia
Ministry prioritising efforts to digitalise job market services
Singapore tech to increase national tax revenue

Indonesia
Indonesia issues new rules to make foreign internet companies pay taxes
Female internet users contributing to rapid adoption of e-money in Indonesia
Indonesia’s smart cities: Investing for the long haul
Digital reality technology to accelerate development
Getting data centers ready for booming digital economy
Indonesia plans sweeping tax reforms for 'expatriate' income, dividends, penalties
BTN to speed up digital transformation with new boss

Malaysia
KKMM to expand Kembara Digital Malaysia programme
Gobind: MCMC has culled 78pc of 3,877 social media accounts deemed fake
Design thinking key to higher organisational success and reduced wastage
Minister urges Japanese investors to leverage Malaysia’s digital transformation push

Myanmar
Local e-commerce firms call on govt to ease regulations
Japanese companies to upgrade telecommunications infrastructure
Land bank to go online
Firms use technology to optimise agriculture yields in Shan

Philippines
Bolstering digital transactions in PH through QR Ph
First PH cybersecurity academy launched
Internet innovations key to a stronger and more connected Philippines
A data-driven Philippines for 2020
DND boosts cybersecurity awareness
Philippines launches e-payment systems en route to be cash-lite
Philippines and BCB Blockchain to Work Together on Smart Cities

Singapore
How to prepare for digital economy jobs
Public and private sectors to join hands on data security
Scheme to draw more women into cyber security
All govt agencies to take steps to safeguard personal data; measures to be in place in most systems by end-2021
Level up to avoid creating digital divide: DPM Heng Swee Keat
Singapore invokes 'fake news' law for first time over Facebook post

Thailand
Data dilemma
Anti-fake news centre pins blame on elderly
DTAC seeks to postpone 5G auctions
Blockchain in the works for oil exports
Airports to host 5G service by next May
Thailand: Cryptocurrency Law Will Change in 2020 to Stay ‘Competitive’
Thailand to use blockchain technology for production-to-export traceability of organic rice

Vietnam
Vietnam E-Pavilion launched to promote locally-made products
‘Customer experience’ key to survival in digital age
Master technologies to better cybersecurity: Minister
E-commerce helps develop logistics property sector
Hotels must use latest digital technologies to stay ahead of the game
Southern businesses are taking cybersecurity more seriously: report
Việt Nam needs to push digital transformation
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Cambodia

Ministry prioritising efforts to digitalise job market services Khmer Times 2nd Dec 2019
The Labour Ministry is prioritising efforts to digitalise the public employment services system to respond better to changes in the labour market. Labour Minister Ith Samheng yesterday said that Cambodia had only started such services in 2009 and the use of technology is still limited. He was speaking at the launch of the two-day Asia-Pacific Conference of the World Association of Public Employment Services under the theme “Digitalisation in Public Employment Services” in Siem Reap province. About 400 participants from 12 Asia-Pacific countries are attending the conference.

Singapore tech to increase national tax revenue The Phnom Penh Post 5th Dec 2019
The General Department of Taxation (GDT) is sourcing for an advanced IT system in Singapore to modernise the Kingdom’s tax system and improve its collection process and efficiency. GDT director-general Kong Vibol led a delegation on a three-day learning visit from November 27 to 29 in Singapore and toured the country’s data management centre Starhub and Vertiv (Singapore) Pte Ltd. The delegation learnt data management and maintenance, the efficiency of applying technology for tax matters via smart devices, data analysis and the utilisation of Artificial Intelligent (AI) to improve the overall quality of the GDT.

Indonesia

Indonesia issues new rules to make foreign internet companies pay taxes Reuters 5th Dec 2019
Indonesia has said that overseas companies that have a significant presence in its booming internet economy must appoint a representative in the country and pay all applicable taxes, according to a new regulation made public on Wednesday. Indonesia’s internet economy is the largest and fastest-growing in the region, on track to cross the $130 billion mark by 2025, according to an October report by Google, Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings and global business consultants Bain & Company. The new regulation, effective immediately after it was passed on Nov. 25, calls for foreign-based companies that actively trade in goods or services electronically in Indonesia to be considered as equal to having a physical presence in the country and thus, must follow all tax rules accordingly, a copy of the regulation obtained by Reuters showed.

Female internet users contributing to rapid adoption of e-money in Indonesia Asia News Network 5th Dec 2019
Sutariyah, a 36-year-old food seller, prepares meals for customers in her food stall located in front of Al-Azhar University in Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta, last week. Her food stall accepts cashless payments by using QR codes from some e-wallets such as Go-Pay, Ovo and OttoPay. THE JAKARTA POST Female internet users contributing to rapid adoption of e-money in Indonesia The internet economy is rapidly growing in Indonesia amid an increase in the use of digital payments across Southeast Asia’s largest economy. According to Google Indonesia’s 2019 Year in Search Indonesia: Insights for Brands report, the rapid growth in the country’s e-money adoption has been greatly affected by five major country trends, which include e-money adaptation, non-metros growth, TV viewing going online, sophisticated consumers and sustainability.

Indonesia’s smart cities: Investing for the long haul The Jakarta Post 30th Nov 2019
technology. So, technology is the tool and not the end goal. (JP/Aman Rochman) “Smart city” is the buzz term for collective digitalized activities by the government, private sector and citizens. But what does “smart city” really mean? The European Union definition for smart city is a place where traditional networks and services are made more efficient with digital and telecommunication technologies for the benefit of its inhabitants and businesses. Some others define the smartness of a city to include sustainable indicators such as carbon dioxide emission. In Indonesia, smart city is more associated with the “electronification” of government services. The concept has become a shared vision for future cities in advanced and developing countries, requiring the collective effort of all stakeholders in the city. Singapore, Seoul, Kashiwa-no-ha in Japan and Barcelona in Spain are examples of thriving smart cities. Their stakeholders have taken a long time to develop “the smartness” of their cities. Japan has been developing Kashiwa-no-ha for more than a decade. Barcelona’s government had saved public funding for smart city development for more than two decades. And Seoul had initiated the smart city project since 1998. The required time indicates the complexity of smart city development. Technology-savvy human resources are extremely crucial to run a smart city. Therefore, it most likely will require a much longer time for developing nations to develop smart cities successfully.

Digital reality technology to accelerate development The Jakarta Post 26th Nov 2019
In the WIR Tech Outlook at the annual DISRUPTO 2019 technology festival, the WIR Group said that digital reality is a strategy to develop and transform infrastructure in Indonesia. WIR Group has several business sub-units, namely augmented reality content developer AR & Co, augmented reality devices DAV, virtual network store platform Mindstores and location-based AR games Minar. The WIR Group, which applies fundamental principles to its operations, is confident that digital reality will propel development in various sectors, especially for companies willing to adapt and transform in the digital age. The retail industry, meanwhile, is among the fastest growing in Indonesia. The retail sector is expected to increase its IT budget by 17 percent annually until 2021, according to an American provider of market intelligence, the International Data Corporation (IDC), making it one of the fastest-growing sectors for technology spending in Indonesia.

Getting data centers ready for booming digital economy The Jakarta Post 25th Nov 2019
Southeast Asia (SEA) has clinched the top spot globally as the mobile economy hot spot, taking over giant economies like China. This is due to the growth in smartphone penetration in this region, which is touted as the gateway to mobile commerce. In a report written by Facebook IQ and Bain & Company, an average of 82 percent of the population in Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia owned smartphones in 2018, and this number is expected to rise to 105 percent by 2022. Indonesia has the world’s highest mobile e-commerce penetration rate. In January 2018, 76 percent of its internet users bought something via mobile devices. This does not come as a surprise, and the archipelago’s digital economy is expected to be the largest in Southeast Asia. According to the annual e-Conomy Southeast Asia study by Google, Temasek and Bain & Company, its market value is expected to triple to US$300 billion by 2025, driven by the rise of e-commerce, ride-hailing and online gaming.

Indonesia plans sweeping tax reforms for 'expatriate' income, dividends, penalties The Jakarta Post 29th Nov 2019
“We will also gradually reduce the corporate income tax from 25 percent to 20 percent, as we are planning to impose [a corporate income tax of] 22 percent in 2021 and then 20 percent in 2023,” said Sri Mulyani. The plan included an additional 3 percent reduction on corporate income tax for companies that went public. “If your company goes public [...], then we will offer a three percent tax incentive for five years, [so] our stock exchange will develop further,” she said.

BTN to speed up digital transformation with new boss The Jakarta Post 29th Nov 2019
State-owned lender Bank Tabungan Negara (BTN) wants to expedite its digital transformation to improve efficiency and profitability following the appointment of former state-owned energy holding company Pertamina finance director at the helm of the bank. BTN finance director Nixon Napitupulu said in Jakarta on Wednesday that, under the digital transformation, the bank would further develop its digital platforms to reduce operating costs and expand its reach. In addition, the bank would seek cheaper funding sources to finance its mortgage loans. “We will focus on boosting savings while focusing on retail time deposits,” he said during a press briefing after an extraordinary general shareholders’ meeting in Jakarta, which officially appointed former Pertamina finance director Pahala Mansury and three other people to the board of directors.

Malaysia

KKMM to expand Kembara Digital Malaysia programme Malay Mail 23rd Nov 2019
The Kembara Digital Malaysia (KDM) Programme, which is the platform of the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia (KKMM) Malaysia and government departments and agencies to help the people in facing numerous digital era challenges, is to be expanded nationwide, next year. Its deputy Minister Eddin Syazlee Shith said this was following the implementation of the programme  in Ipoh, Perak in July and Kuala Pilah, today. Taking the example of the east coast states, he was confident the economic activities carried out by the people of those states were different from the other states, and they could continue to be improved through the digital economic leap brought about by the ministry.

Gobind: MCMC has culled 78pc of 3,877 social media accounts deemed fake Malay Mail 2nd Dec 2019
A total of 3,877 fake accounts on social media have been detected, 78 per cent of which have been deleted by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) as of September, the Dewan Rakyat was told today. Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo said the main factor for the deletion of these accounts was because they were created for the purpose of disguise. “The deletion of these social media accounts was done with the cooperation with the social media platform providers in accordance with the terms and conditions set by them.

Design thinking key to higher organisational success and reduced wastage Malay Mail 30th Nov 2019
People may be familiar with the term design thinking (DT) but not its extensive potential in helping businesses achieve success and cut inefficiency. This is the view of Malaysia Project Management Practitioners Community (MPC) co-founder Lee Nan Phin. A Project Management Consultant with a background in artificial intelligence and computer science, he said DT was especially pertinent in a rapidly digitalising age. “Design thinking is not just about getting things done, but also with the mindset to accept failure early on and thus avoid wasting resources in costly implementations, as in traditional project management. That requires some changes in management thinking,” he told Malay Mail.

Minister urges Japanese investors to leverage Malaysia’s digital transformation push Malay Mail 29th Nov 2019
International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Darell Leiking is calling for Japanese investors to leverage on Malaysia’s push for digital transformation. He said Malaysia was committed to undertaking the digital transformation efforts, among others, through the National eCommerce Strategic Roadmap, as well as the country’s engagements at the international level.

Myanmar

Local e-commerce firms call on govt to ease regulations The Myanmar Times 28th Nov 2019
The sales bonanza shows that a growing number of shoppers in Myanmar are bypassing malls and shops in favour of buying online, which augurs well for the future of e-commerce in the country.  But the shift in consumer preferences has spurred traditional brick-and-mortar retailers to lobby the government for more regulation of e-commerce to ensure a level playing field.  In March 2018, the Ministry of Commerce announced plans to draft the country’s first e-commerce law, though no further information has been released since.  E-commerce businesses have expressed concerns about other laws regulating the online retail sector. They said regulations aimed at protecting consumers can interfere with e-commerce businesses and dampen their growth potential.

Japanese companies to upgrade telecommunications infrastructure Mizzima Myanmar 5th Dec 2019
Trading house Sojitz Corp and three other Japanese companies will upgrade telecommunications infrastructure in Myanmar in a 7-billion-yen project financed by a low-interest loan from the Japanese government, nippon.com reported. The companies received an order for the project from Myanma Posts & Telecommunications, the country's largest telecom operator, according to a statement released Wednesday. It will be the first official Japanese development assistance loan project for a Myanmar telecom operator.

Land bank to go online The Myanmar Times 28th Nov 2019
Myanmar’s land bank will be fully digitalised and online access given to investors applying for land on which to do business in the country,” said U Thaung Tun, chair of Myanmar Investment Commission. Obtaining land is the main challenge for both local and foreign investors when they set up businesses in Myanmar. The country is already making several economic reforms, and aims to accelerate the reforms, said U Thaung Tun, and the setting up of the online land bank is one of the priorities of the Ministry of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations. The current economic reforms are of great help for the future economic development of the country. So, the country’s economy will surely improve, said U Thaung Tun.

Firms use technology to optimise agriculture yields in Shan The Myanmar Times 27th Nov 2019
Using its smart precision systems, HydroPlant will provide vital information on the weather, soil conditions and other necessary details vital for cultivation to AEG Agriculture. The smart precision systems offer information that farmers need via a smartphone, including an automatic control system. For example, a machine measures the required temperature and humidity of a crop, which can be monitored via a smartphone.  This agreement to use technology in agriculture is the first of its kind in Shan State, said U Htet Aung Hlaing, CEO of HydroPlant. AEG Agriculture cultivates maize across about 5,000 acres of land in Shan State. With help from Hydro Plant, the company will be able to better manage its crops to ensure efficiency. 

Philippines

Bolstering digital transactions in PH through QR Ph The Manila Times 27th Nov 2019
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, led by Governor Benjamin Diokno, together with the Philippine Payments Management Inc. (PPMI), spearheaded the official launch of QR Ph, the Philippines’ national QR code standard for digital payments, at the BSP headquarters in Manila recently. RCBC President and CEO Eugene Acevedo (left) and UnionBank president and CEO Edwin Bautista conducted a fund transfer transaction to the PayMaya account of BSP Governor Diokno by simply scanning the QR Ph code in his PayMaya app, the first e-wallet in the country to adopt the national QR code standard. PayMaya, RCBC and UnionBank, along with Landbank, AUB, and Chinabank, are among the first financial institutions to pilot QR Ph, allowing instant and seamless fund transfers among account holders as part of the government’s National Retail Payment System (NRPS) goals of raising the percentage of digital transactions in the country to 20 percent by 2020.

First PH cybersecurity academy launched The Manila Times 24th Nov 2019
Global cybersecurity solutions provider Palo Alto recently announced a collaboration with Asia Pacific College (APC) to launch the first Cybersecurity Academy in the Philippines. The program is designed to nurture the next generation of the cybersecurity workforce in the Philippines. Starting from February 2020, APC will roll out new cybersecurity courses under the academy curriculum to students across all disciplines. In addition to the School of Computing and Information Technologies, students from the School of Management, School of Multimedia and Arts, and School of Engineering would also have the opportunity to enrol in cybersecurity-related courses.

Internet innovations key to a stronger and more connected Philippines Inquirer 2nd Dec 2019
A connected home is the first step towards a digitally powered nation, as the home is where most learnings in life start, according to Senior Vice President and Head of Broadband Business Martha Sazon at the recently concluded AfricaCom 2019 at Cape Town International Convention Center in South Africa. Speaking at a VIP forum, Sazon discussed the business case of growing prepaid Internet penetration in a developing society such as the Philippines, where similar to South Africa, the mid to lower income segments are predominant and prepaid as a payment option is most relevant. She divulged on Globe’s broadband network strategy of pioneering prepaid home internet innovations as one of the primary catalysts in the digital transformation of the Philippines.

A data-driven Philippines for 2020 HRM Asia 2nd Dec 2019
Technology and digitalisation will shape hiring and requirement trends across the Philippines next year. Businesses in the Philippines in 2020 will take on a more data-driven approach, strengthening the demand for technologically and digitally savvy professionals. Many of them will see organisation-wide transformations. Professionals with a commercial mindset who can leverage their industry expertise with available data and new technology platforms to make effective business decisions will be in greater demand. These are some of the findings from the Robert Walters Salary Survey 2020. The specialist recruitment firm predicts a rise in demand for hybrid skills and ‘glocal’ talent while potential and transferable skills are expected to be in stronger demand as more companies embrace digitalisation.

DND boosts cybersecurity awareness The Manila Times 29th Nov 2019
THE Department of National Defense (DND) has enhanced its campaign to raise cybersecurity awareness as it held a conference for its personnel to educate them on relevant issues concerning the matter. Defense Undersecretary Cardozo Luna led the DND’s first annual cybersecurity awareness conference, dubbed as the “DND Cybercon,” on Wednesday at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City. Luna said the cyberspace and cybersecurity have been “at the forefront” of the DND’s priority list, citing the agency’s crafted National Defense Strategy which considered cyberspace as the “fourth dimension of warfare” and has been identified by their strategy as “one of the new defense mission areas.”

Philippines launches e-payment systems en route to be cash-lite Tech Wire Asia 26th Nov 2019
THERE is a significantly increasing dependency on e-payment systems as the service is proven to be convenient, economical, and safe — in Southeast Asia and around the world. The Philippines, for example, understands this well and has been actively making efforts to streamline transactions and payments in the country. Recently, the country’s Central Bank (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno announced that the Philippines aims to be cash-lite by 2023. Following the country’s ongoing digital transformation program, the BSP has launched digital payment systems namely ‘eGov Pay’ and ‘QR PH’, to expand its digital capabilities. eGov Pay is expected to support the government’s aspirations to collect taxes and other governmental fees online using resident’s PESOnet accounts.

Philippines and BCB Blockchain to Work Together on Smart Cities Cointelegraph 23rd Nov 2019
Singapore-based blockchain firm BCB Blockchain has signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) with a branch of the Philippines’ Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to support the development of local smart cities. Per a Nov. 23 press release, BCB Blockchain contributed $300,000 to support incubators and startup accelerators in the Philippines by signing an MoA with the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEETRD).

Singapore

How to prepare for digital economy jobs The Straits Times 1st Dec 2019
As the economy embraces technology, digital skills are increasingly needed to succeed at work. These skills, from coding to deriving insights from data, are both enhancing existing jobs as well as creating new ones. But not everyone is ready for the sea change. A survey published earlier this year by cloud computing company ServiceNow found that among 304 working professionals in Singapore, nearly half - 48 per cent - were concerned about learning new skills or processes, and having to change the way they do their jobs, when faced with workplace automation.

Public and private sectors to join hands on data security The Straits Times 28th Nov 2019
The public and private sectors will work as partners when it comes to dealing with data security, said Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean who heads the Public Sector Data Security Review Committee. He noted yesterday that many organisations in both the public and private sectors today are data-driven and both sectors "offer good examples of how to maintain high integrity of data". SM Teo was speaking to the media about his committee's recommendations. Adding that the two sides will continue to work together in the future, he said: "We have benefited greatly from the perspectives that the private sector members have brought to the committee."

Scheme to draw more women into cyber security The Straits Times 27th Nov 2019
Shifting her focus from technology marketing to cyber-security marketing in her company five years ago, Ms Sherin Y. Lee then charted her own course, attending seminars and meeting industry practitioners before joining a cyber-security firm in May last year. Today, Ms Lee, 41, is one of 50 mentors taking part in the Ladies in Cyber Mentorship programme, launched yesterday. Organised by the Association of Information Security Professionals (AiSP), the programme pairs the mentors, who hold diverse industry portfolios, with 50 female students from institutes of higher learning, including the Singapore University of Technology and Design, the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and polytechnics.

All govt agencies to take steps to safeguard personal data; measures to be in place in most systems by end-2021 The Straits Times 27th Nov 2019
Public agencies will collect and retain an individual's data only when it is strictly necessary while making sure it is properly safeguarded, as part of new measures that will be rolled out across the entire public service. In case of a data incident involving ministries, statutory boards or other public agencies, anyone affected will have to be notified promptly. A single contact point will also be established for the public to report data incidents as well.

Level up to avoid creating digital divide: DPM Heng Swee Keat The Straits Times 1st Dec 2019
More efforts are being made to get Singaporeans on board the Smart Nation journey, and this includes a tie-up between the Government and the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) to equip workers with the skills and knowledge for the digital economy. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat said the tie-up would help Singaporeans upgrade and level up. "This is a journey that involves all of us. Whether you are young or old, technology is reshaping the way we live, work and play," Mr Heng said when he announced the signing of the memorandum of understanding between NTUC and the Smart Nation and Digital Government Office (SNDGO).

Singapore invokes 'fake news' law for first time over Facebook post Bangkok Post 25th Nov 2019
Singapore political figure Brad Bowyer on Monday corrected a Facebook post questioning the independence of state investment firms following a government request, in the first use of the country's new "fake news" law. Bowyer used "false and misleading" statements alleging the government influenced decisions made by state investors Temasek Holdings and GIC, according to a statement on the official government fact-checking website. Bowyer said he had placed a correction notice with a link to the government statement above his Facebook post following a request to do so under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA).

Thailand

Data dilemma Bangkok Post 2nd Dec 2019
The more we have, the harder it is to store and protect. Whether data is in the cloud or on the edge, security comes first. In the digital world, data is king. Businesses now understand that in order to stay relevant and ahead of competitors, they need data to know more about their customers. The more you know, the more products and services you can sell in a more personalised way, which is what buyers want. But with data accumulating at unimaginable rates in the world of connected devices, artificial intelligence and 5G, how do you store and protect all of it? Many companies are moving their data into the cloud and others are talking about going to the edge, a less familiar concept that has started to gain traction. Both strategies present challenges.

Anti-fake news centre pins blame on elderly Bangkok Post 2nd Dec 2019
About 500,000 items of suspected fake news were spread on social media over the past month, with the elderly found to be the biggest culprits, Digital Economy and Society Minister Buddhipongse Punnakanta said on Monday. He said the ministry's anti-fake news centre has detected some half a million items of possible fake news and sent them to relevant agencies for fact-checking, which should take two hours. Mr Buddhipongse said the anti-fake news centre, which was formally launched on Nov 1, intends to speed up detection and is also looking into misuse of social media platforms to deceive people.  According to the minister, people aged 60 and over were found to be the greatest source of inaccurate information online, which they mainly spread out of concern for those close to them.

DTAC seeks to postpone 5G auctions Bangkok Post 2nd Dec 2019
Total Access Communication (DTAC), the third largest mobile operator, on Monday urged the telecom regulator to postpone the 5G spectrum auctions scheduled for February to include 3500-megahertz spectrum in the auctions. The request was made one day ahead of the public hearing for the four spectrum licence auctions. The four bands cover 700MHz, 1800MHz, 2600MHz and 26-28 gigahertz ranges. The demand was swiftly shot down by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), which indicated the deferral would hinder the country’s competitiveness in innovation development.

Blockchain in the works for oil exports Bangkok Post 2nd Dec 2019
The Excise Department will devise a method to refund overpaid taxes to oil exporters in a manner that stems leakages, its chief says. The change in the tax refund practice will use blockchain, which the department plans to adopt by the middle of next year, said director-general Patchara Anuntasilpa. The blockchain-based tax payback system requires oil exporters to pay excise tax to the department and claim overpaid taxes after they ship the fuel, he said. The new technology will let the department inspect the tax payments thoroughly.

Airports to host 5G service by next May Bangkok Post 2nd Dec 2019
Commercial 5G wireless broadband service is to be launched at Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports by May 2020 as the first sites for ultra-fast wireless internet adoption in the country, says the telecom regulator. The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) plans to sign a memorandum of understanding with Airports of Thailand on Nov 27 for collaboration to facilitate infrastructure preparation for mobile operators to deploy 5G networks at the airports. The NBTC has announced that the 5G spectrum licence auctions will be held on Feb 16, 2020. NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasith said the 5G spectrum bidders will be pushed to consider the two airports as a first priority for 5G adoption, rather than the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), which is not ready for 5G service among vertical industries.

Thailand: Cryptocurrency Law Will Change in 2020 to Stay ‘Competitive’ Cointelegraph 25th Nov 2019
Lawmakers in Thailand plan to reform cryptocurrency laws after voicing concerns that they have made the country uncompetitive. As local English-language news outlet Bangkok Post reported on Nov. 25, Thailand’s regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) wants to reconsider its crypto policy in 2020.  SEC must be “flexible” on crypto The reason, it says, lies in poor uptake of its certification and licensing scheme by cryptocurrency businesses.  Since it came into power last year, only five companies have completed certification, and of those, just two have launched.

Thailand to use blockchain technology for production-to-export traceability of organic rice TokenPost 25th Nov 2019
Thailand’s Trade Policy and Strategy Office (TPSO) has revealed that it is initiating a project to use blockchain technology to monitor agricultural products, starting with organic rice. The country is well-known as a producer of organic rice. In its announcement, the TPSO said that Thailand exported 16,500 tons of organic rice by 2018 and is expected to be able to produce 247,000 tons by 2021. However, trade of organic rice faces a number of problems including quality and product reliability, which are key factors affecting the product’s demand. The TPSO aims to use blockchain technology for production-to-export traceability in an attempt to boost confidence among buyers, The Nation Thailand reported.

Vietnam

Vietnam E-Pavilion launched to promote locally-made products vietnamnews.vn 5th Dec 2019
The E-Commerce and Digital Economy Department has announced the launch of the Vietnam E-Pavilion on e-commerce platforms and deals for consumers on the country’s largest online shopping day, Online Friday, on December 6. Đặng Hoàng Hải, the director of the department, said setting it up was a result of the close cooperation between his department and major e-commerce platforms in Việt Nam. On Monday the department signed an agreement with Sen Đỏ Technology JSC and Viettel Post Corporation, the owner of e-commerce platforms Sendo.vn and Voso.vn respectively, to launch the pavilion on the two sites.

‘Customer experience’ key to survival in digital age vietnamnews.vn 5th Dec 2019
Marketing strategies that include personalised customer experiences are essential to help companies survive in the highly competitive digital age, speakers said yesterday at an international summit in HCM City. Nguyễn Dương, founder of Cempartner, a customer experience professional, said: “In the digital era, customers expect to experience personalised and interactive experiences in which the first impression and feelings will decide their brand loyalty.” “Offering customer experiences has become the prominent trend in the sales and marketing industry this year,” he told Việt Nam News. More than 40 local and international representatives from leading companies and start-ups around the world are taking part in the two-day VSMCamp & CSMOSummit 2019.

Master technologies to better cybersecurity: Minister vietnamnews.vn 2nd Dec 2019
It is time Việt Nam mastered technologies to make sure local businesses, organisations and people are protected from cyber-attacks, Minister of Information and Communications Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng said on Friday. The way an organisation reacted to cyber-attacks showed how prepared it was and how well it was protected, the minister told attendees at the Vietnam Information Security Day 2019 in Hà Nội.

E-commerce helps develop logistics property sector vietnamnews.vn 2nd Dec 2019
Growing demand from e-commerce users is putting pressure on existing supply chains, facilities and warehouses. Single’s Day on November 11 saw a surge on local e-commerce sites. E-commerce platform Tiki saw a quadrupling of orders and buyers during its ‘Legendary Sale 11.11’ promotion on the day. In Việt Nam, over 60 per cent of the population use the internet, and this offers brands the opportunity to easily approach target customers.

Hotels must use latest digital technologies to stay ahead of the game vietnamnews.vn 2nd Dec 2019
The hotel industry in HCM City should take advantage of technology to improve management, offer more conveniences to customers and increase profits. Nguyễn Thị Ánh Hoa, deputy director of the city’s Department of Tourism, said that disruptive technology was changing the face of the country’s hospitality sector. Hospitality start-ups and technology firms had great potential to tap into the hotel industry in HCM City, she said at a meeting in HCM City this week. “The (traditional) hotel industry is under pressure because it is using outdated business models and has had to adapt and change much more than many other asset classes."

Southern businesses are taking cybersecurity more seriously: report vietnamnews.vn 26th Nov 2019
More and more businesses and organisations in southern Việt Nam are focusing on cybersecurity, but there are still limitations such as inadequate procedures and visibility of risks, according to a report tabled at Việt Nam Information Security Day in HCM City on Thursday (November 21). Trịnh Ngọc Minh, deputy chairman of the Việt Nam Information Security Association's southern branch, said a higher percentage of surveyed businesses and organisations are seeking outside professional experts compared to last year -- up from 69 per cent to 84 per cent -- while around 42 per cent utilise both their own workforce and outside help.

Việt Nam needs to push digital transformation vietnamnews.vn 26th Nov 2019
The proportion of Vietnamese enterprises that have not adopted digital transformation is about 1.5 times higher than the global average. The biggest problem for businesses was that they did not know where to start the transformation, said Nguyễn Văn Khoa, FPT director general, speaking at the FPT Techday 2019. He said if businesses failed to get moving, they would be left behind. FPT Techday 2019 under the theme “Smart Start” was held on Thursday in Hà Nội.