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First Privacy Enhancing Technologies Sandbox in Singapore

The Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PET) Sandbox has recently been launched by the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) and the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) in order to assist businesses who, seek to pilot PET initiatives that address typical business concerns.

“Privacy Enhancing Technologies, while nascent, occupy a sweet spot by allowing the extraction and sharing of insights while ensuring the security and confidentiality of personal data. These qualities are appealing to data protection regulators. We are keen to support adoption for suitable use cases,” says Yeong Zee Kin, Deputy Commissioner, PDPC.

The PET Sandbox, he continued, aims to identify with commercial sector participants the best PET to use case fit and their technological limitations to produce guidelines and best practices that would encourage more adoption.

PETs may be able to extract value from confidential or proprietary data that companies may be reluctant to share. Businesses have requested help in implementing PET solutions in practical applications as PETs develop and are ready for deployment.

To do this, the PET sandbox will offer a secure setting and a testing ground for PET ideas. These initiatives will assist companies in choosing the best PET to meet their data sharing goals and gain a better understanding of technical constraints.

IMDA and PDPC want to compile case studies, identify common software tools that can facilitate the industry’s adoption of PETs, and offer policy guidelines to establish standards and best practices based on the experiences learned from the pilots.

Owners will be expected to submit their use cases that address three common data-sharing goals. This approach can assist potential owners in locating pertinent use cases and allow IMDA and PDPC to concentrate their efforts on creating future technical and policy solutions.

Following the initial industry consultation, the following typical business concerns emerged:

  • How can common clients be found across different business units?
  • How can a more complete picture of client preferences be created?
  • How can we open more data for AI development?

A panel of PET solution providers will be readily available to participants in the PET Sandbox, and a full range of support services, including funding and regulatory guidance, will be available to assist with the piloting of PET use case scenarios.

Meanwhile, data centres (DCs) are significant catalysts for the digital economy. The need for data processing and storage among organisations and consumers has increased significantly as the use of digital apps and services has increased. However, DCs also use a lot of electricity, water, and other resources, which increases our carbon footprint.

Singapore will have to sustainably manage the expansion of its DC capacity to adhere to its climate change obligations. The government started a review and warned the industry that the rise of DCs would temporarily halt in 2019. Since then, to establish the requirements for the installation of new DC capacity, EDB and IMDA have had extensive consultations with the DC industry, their industrial clients, and suppliers of sustainability solutions.

EDB and IMDA will collaborate with the sector to support DCs that: strengthen Singapore’s international connectivity and position as a regional centre; introduce cutting-edge technology and best practises for sustainability, notably in the fields of energy efficiency and decarbonization; and contribute significantly to Singapore’s larger economic goals.

Many DCs are already actively working to become more energy efficient and sustainable. The Pilot Call for Application (CFA) exercise by EDB and IMDA aims to leverage the industry’s expertise and capabilities to further push the technology boundaries in these areas, helping to level the sector’s baseline while providing new capacity for DC growth to support our digital economy.


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