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Singapore Building a Secure Digital Ecosystem

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During the SGTech Global Future Series: Digital Trust Forum, Senior Minister of State for National Development and Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information, Tan Kiat How delivered a keynote speech underscoring Singapore’s commitment to fostering digital trust in the modern digital age.

SMS Tan highlighted the growing prominence of the digital trust issue, attributing it to the increasing integration of digital technologies in daily life. Without a foundation of trust to underpin secure and confident digital transactions, the interconnected world faces significant risks.

One of the significant challenges in this digital landscape remains the persistence of scams, despite the measures taken by the Government and its partners. SMS Tan noted a 64.5% increase in scam cases, with approximately 22,000 cases reported from January to June 2023, compared to 13,000 cases during the same period last year.

These instances of data breaches, cyberattacks, and online fraud not only endanger personal privacy and security but also pose a threat to critical infrastructure, financial systems, and global trade. The consequences of not addressing this issue are far-reaching, affecting the loss of personal data, erosion of confidence in digital services, economic disruptions, and even national security vulnerabilities.

Digital trust is essential for the functioning of Singapore’s society and economy. It is crucial for the nation’s competitiveness, as trust serves as one of its most valuable competitive advantages. In a digital ecosystem where trust needs to be built on new foundations, the government is taking proactive steps to address this issue comprehensively.

According to SMS Tan, Singapore’s approach to safeguarding digital trust involves a multi-pronged strategy. Firstly, it relies on guidelines and regulations, including the Personal Data Protection Act, to protect citizens from online threats.

Additionally, emerging technologies like AI are expected to be developed and deployed responsibly. The government introduced the Model AI Governance Framework and AI Verify to provide guidance and standardised testing for responsible AI deployment.

Secondly, to ensure a skilled workforce is available to secure the digital space, the government has been working closely with its partners to identify skills gaps and strategies for training competent digital trust professionals. A study titled the “Digital Trust Workforce Survey” is underway to address this need.

Lastly, the nation is collaborating with industry experts and professionals to strengthen the digital trust ecosystem. An advisory panel is being established at the Digital Trust Centre of Excellence to guide best practices, educational resources, and policy recommendations.

The SMS stressed the significance of upholding trust in the digital space for Singapore’s continued success. He expressed his eagerness to work closely with industry stakeholders and partners to build trust as a competitive advantage for the digital economy. “Digital trust is at the forefront of Singapore’s agenda, and the nation is taking proactive steps to ensure its digital ecosystem remains secure and trustworthy,” SMS Tan affirmed.

Singapore believes that digital trust is paramount for nations in the digital age. It underpins economic growth by encouraging secure online transactions and fostering innovation. Trust is intertwined with cybersecurity, ensuring data protection and safeguarding critical infrastructure.

The government has provided trusted online services to citizens, while strong data privacy regulations are essential. Trust also influences global competitiveness, as the nation’s trust attracts investments and technology companies; and a foundation for international relations, enabling cooperation in cybersecurity and information sharing.


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