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Singapore Strengthens Cyber Resilience and Digital Governance

According to Josephine Teo, Minister for Communications and Information and Minister-in-charge of Smart Nation and Cybersecurity during the recently held Sydney Dialogue on “Cyber Strategy and Digital Governance – Protecting Sovereignty and Building Resilience,” with the rapid development of technology, regulations must be well-calibrated to not impede opportunities while ensuring trust and safety. Thus, good governance frameworks are essential for promoting trust and safety in the digital domain.

The Minister added that good governance has three key components such as preventing terrible things from happening, putting limits on behaviours, and being enforceable. “Domestic laws and regulations, such as those implemented in Singapore to tackle misinformation and cybersecurity, are a start but may not be enough due to the global nature of risks in the digital domain,” says Minister Josephine.

She added that international cooperation is crucial for effective governance in areas like cybersecurity, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and data management. There is a need for good global governance in these common interest areas, and there is room for development and collaboration at the international level to address the challenges posed by technology’s rapid advancement.

In industries with global impact, governance frameworks take time to develop, as seen in examples like aviation and pharmaceuticals. Similarly, in the cyber and digital domains, there is a need for effective international governance.

These include interoperability, building resilience, and fostering norms of good behaviour. Interoperability is important in stopping ransomware payments across jurisdictions. Building capacity and learning from each other’s approaches to disrupting ransomware enhances international cooperation.

Sharing notes on what works in different jurisdictions and fostering higher norms of behaviour also contribute to good governance. Also, the counter-ransomware initiative shows that international cooperation is essential in combating ransomware, irrespective of ideology or political beliefs.

Data is a valuable resource that can drive organisational growth, market expansion, and operational efficiency. However, the value of data also makes it susceptible to theft and misuse, necessitating the need for appropriate guardrails in data governance frameworks.

Clear accountability is crucial in any data governance framework. Organisations collecting, storing, and using data must be aware of their obligations and be held accountable for their actions. Additionally, rules and regulations around data governance must be accessible, considering that not all companies are well-resourced to cope with regulatory requirements. Finding ways to help smaller companies access and comply with data governance rules is important.

Accessibility also involves building secure ways of exchanging data. Platforms that enable secure data exchange among stakeholders in specific industries or ecosystems can promote accessibility while maintaining security. Partnerships are another key component of effective data management. International cooperation is necessary as businesses operate across different jurisdictions, and collaboration among countries can facilitate data management and data flows.

The Singaporean approach to governance is based on honesty and transparency. The government believes in being honest with citizens about both opportunities and risks. By making citizens aware of risks, they can take measures to protect themselves. At the same time, the government takes responsibility to bring together relevant parties and introduce measures to improve safety in the digital space.

Minister Josephine emphasises that the real level of safety in digital transactions is crucial to maintain trust and confidence among citizens. Measures must be introduced to ensure that vulnerabilities leading to financial losses are minimized. It is acknowledged that not all governments are experienced in this domain, and there is a need for continuous learning from each other to make progress collectively.

She added that the Singaporean approach to governance involves being honest with citizens, creating awareness about risks, and taking responsibility to introduce measures for improved safety in the digital space. Collaboration and learning from other countries are seen as essential for making progress in this area.


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