Around the world today, data is transforming lives for the better, enabling governments and corporates to understand in a way they never could before the needs of citizens and customers, and to deliver products and services tailored to those needs.
But simultaneously, there is growing concern that the underprivileged around the world, who would benefit the most from the data revolution, are getting locked out of it.
Bridging this gap between the data-haves and have-nots lies at the heart of the concept of data philanthropy espoused by the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth (the Center). The Center’s stated objective is to advance equitable and sustainable economic growth and financial inclusion around the world.
OpenGov spoke to Ms. Shamina Singh, President of the Center to learn more about data philanthropy. Ms. Alison L. Eskesen, Asia Pacific Regional Director for the Center was also present for the conversation.
Ms. Singh underlined the critical importance of closing the data divide, "We are all focused on income inequality, but information inequality is a much bigger issue, that if we don’t tackle in the near term, I think it’s going to create bigger problems down the road, with the emergence of things like AI technologies."
Mastercard has a vision of using its assets for good. Its assets include the technology and the network, the expertise of the employees, money for philanthropy, and data. Data is the big asset that is as yet largely untapped for social impact. Ms. Singh said, "If we want to be true to the notion of philanthropy, we really need to think about how we are leveraging all of our assets, not just our money."
The Center is an independent subsidiary of Mastercard. A data philanthropy governance committee was formed to ensure that the work is done with absolute integrity and in compliance with all rules and regulations. Mastercard’s Chief Privacy Officer, Chief Technology Officer, Head of Analytics are all present on the committee. The individuals who are dealing with Mastercard data on the business side are also advising on the data philanthropy aspect.
The data philanthropy governance committee reviews a set of proposals, once or twice a year. As awareness increases of the Center’s activities, a lot more requests are being received.
The first criteria for selection is that the project has to have social impact. The second is whether the data Mastercard will provide will have impact to the study.
The programme itself takes different shapes and forms. The highest form of data philanthropy is a data grant, where Mastercard information insights or aggregated data is shared with an entity who can use it to advance their research proposal. Ms. Singh said that there’s a very high bar the applicants have to meet to get Mastercard data. Most data grants have been to universities and have been given only after careful consideration of the university, their security practices and the purpose of the study.
Other determinants for data grant recipients include the type of information or data insights that will be used in the study, how Mastercard information will be used will be used with other data and how to ensure compliance with other requirements including privacy and data protection.
The first data grantee was Harvard University’s Center for International Development (CID). They used the Mastercard information in tandem with other information to conduct research on the flow and accumulation of business ‘knowhow’, a key driver for inclusive economic growth. The researchers uncovered new insights on the dynamics of global business travel, finding that in spite of the technology revolution, business travel remains extensive suggesting that for some key tasks it is easier to move the brains than it is to move the relevant information to brains.
CID used the combined information insights to explore how tourists coming to Colombia were spending their money. Ms. Eskesen explained, "The question was: Are foreign tourists actually contributing to inclusive growth. Do they come in and spend their money in the resort and never leave the resort or do they actually go out into the community. Do they travel to secondary cities and tertiary cities? How far out does that ripple of inclusive growth actually extend?"
"Which is really important from a government perspective, when they are starting to talk about having tourism be a driver for their economy. It might bring more FDI but if it doesn’t actually impact the lives of the people that live there, then they are falling short of realising the potential of tourism," she added.
In Asia, there are several countries like Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, which depend very heavily on tourism as a driver of economic growth. We asked if there are plans for similar projects in Asia.
Ms. Eskesen said that there have been internal conversations around this. She said, "We are funding a learning tour at a global level around data philanthropy with Stanford University. In Asia, they went to China and Australia to meet with stakeholders, both from the government or public sector, as well as from the private sector and civil society, to understand their concerns and thoughts. That’s really a first stepping stone to understanding what can we do with data philanthropy in this region."
The second type of data philanthropy is one where organisations in the social sector need analytics support. They may not need the data itself but what they require are experts and the infrastructure support to help them understand their own data.
Social sector organisations often have a lot of data, but very little of it is actually being put to use to make better decisions for a country or a community or a city. The NGO or a social organisation can share the data with Mastercard, who can conduct the analysis and provide the results. Or people from Mastercard can come into the organisation and help them figure out how to organise the data and derive insights.
The Center worked with a university in New York to understand why students were dropping out of university close to graduation day. Mastercard data was not used here. But the Center sent a data scientist to analyse their data. Results were contrary to the assumption of financial factors driving the dropouts.
nd that the students were dropping out because of class schedule conflicting with their other responsibilities, such as taking children to school. The university rearranged their schedule to better meet the needs of students.
In another project, the Center was able to perform an analysis to demonstrate the impact crime has on merchant locations and local job opportunities in Baltimore. Mastercard utilized its market insights in tandem with public data on commercial robberies to better understand if there are any relationships between such criminal activity and business closings. Preliminary analysis indicated that a spike in commercial robberies in 2013 was followed by an increase in bar and nightclub closings (a proxy for low-wage retail). The results were similar in Oakland in 2014.
This was done in partnership with the White House’s Data Driven Justice Initiative — an effort to use data to help advance criminal justice reform.
The third level of data philanthropy is engaging Mastercard’s data scientists in this work. Many data scientists at Mastercard were eager to join in when informed about data philanthropy initiatives. In this structure, Mastercard works with organisations like Datakind, which brings together data scientists to take on social problems.
When the partnership started, Mastercard’s data scientists would plug in to volunteer opportunities. The Center provided data scientists to work on social impact projects in Burundi, India, Rwanda and Uganda. Now, those data scientists themselves are coming up with social impact problems they want to solve and organisations they would like to work with.
We asked Ms. Singh to explain what stops corporates from sharing their data. She replied that though it’s hard to argue with the idea of data for good and data for social impact, often it’s harder to negotiate philanthropic use of proprietary data inside a company, when the focus is on commercialisation of data.
"We didn’t start from a place of what can’t we do, which I think is where most people start. The lawyers come in and say no, this cannot happen. We started from a place of, if we want to actually do this, how do we go about it. And we found that there are ways to be engaged," Ms. Singh said.
When the OECD learnt about the data philanthropy activities of the Center, they invited Mastercard to co-chair a conference with them on the subject. Mastercard’s Chief Privacy Officer will be attending the event. Other companies are going to be invited to share their views on constraints, either real or perceived.
"Because we are in some respects first movers, there’s an enormous responsibility that we feel around how we do it. How do we make sure that we follow the rules and we respect privacy, but at the same time find some sort of path to decision-making that’s not either/ or. We are going to continue and we hope that other companies will start doing this too," Ms. Singh said.
The University of South Australia and the South Australian Institute of Sport (SASI) have joined forces to establish a top-notch sports research and education facility in Mile End, focusing on high-performance sports.
The new cutting-edge complex integrates essential sports and educational resources to aid athletes in reaching peak performance, offer university students hands-on, industry-focused learning, and provide research-based solutions for sports in South Australia. The new SASI will share a location with the National Centre for Sports Aerodynamics, UniSA Sports Science Hub, SA Athletics Stadium, and Netball SA Stadium at Mile End.
The global sports technology market was valued at US$12.17 billion in 2021 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 19.6% from 2022 to 2030. With the growing demand for data-driven decision-making and operations in sports events, the sports tech industry is expected to experience significant growth due to the increased adoption of data analytics, IoT, and social media integration in various sports.
The demand for technology-based solutions in the sports sector is driven by a focus on enhancing audience engagement and entertainment, and the digitisation of stadiums. The market has seen growth with increased investments by organisations in adopting advanced technologies for monitoring player performance and fan engagement.
The UniSA Sports Science Hub provides UniSA sports science students with real-world learning opportunities, the chance to work with top industry professionals and elite athletes, and a well-rounded education for a successful career.
UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd states the new facility will offer dynamic, connected learning experiences for students. He stated that the new UniSA Sports Science Hub offers exceptional potential for enhancing research, education, and commercial partnerships with SASI and other sports industry partners located at the same site.
Coaches and health professionals will collaborate to conduct innovative research to better equip athletes for competition. The UniSA Sports Science Hub boasts state-of-the-art facilities and expertise to provide top-notch education, training, and research, benefiting South Australia’s sports industry both now and in the future.
The new UniSA Sports Science Hub, the only one of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, features specialised teaching and research areas such as exercise classrooms, biomechanics labs, exercise testing gear, and an environmental chamber.
The new facility aims to inspire children to participate in sports, allowing them to reap the physical, mental, and social benefits. To motivate the children, South Australia’s athletes representing the state on a global level need access to top-notch facilities, and this project will provide them for the long term. The new SASI-UniSA partnership demonstrates South Australia’s sports industry’s innovative and pioneering spirit.
The Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing emphasised that the new facilities will motivate future generations to participate more in sports and physical activity. She added that some of South Australia’s greatest athletes developed their talent in Adelaide at SASI. When these and other remarkable athletes excel, future generations are motivated, leading to an increase in sports and physical activity participation.
The Minister also said that as sports institutes worldwide adopt advancing technology for a competitive advantage, the cutting-edge SASI facility will maintain South Australia’s leadership in sports performance and research, aid staff and athletes, and enable more young athletes to pursue their athletic aspirations. Works are set to commence in early 2023, with the project expected to be completed by mid-2024.
HKSTP has entered a strategic partnership with a Swiss multinational pharmaceutical company to position Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area as a leader in life science innovation and set an example for the region. This is the first collaboration between HKSTP and the life sciences corporation that encompasses technology and data sharing.
The two are committed to promoting life science innovation and healthcare policy. They aim to provide a robust platform and support for start-ups in Hong Kong and mainland China by creating an ecosystem for healthcare start-ups. The goal is to make the Greater Bay Area a leader in life science and healthcare innovation and serve as a model for the rest of China in terms of technology application and registration. Additionally, they hope to establish the GBA as a hub for talent and corporates in the Asia Pacific region.
The principal areas of collaboration are:
- Shaping Policy – A white paper to articulate policy recommendations, organising a public forum and a round-table for an in-depth discussion with government officials;
- Co-incubation program – providing the start-ups with support and guidance on science, strategy and marketing, and creating a platform for the start-ups and potential partners to network and exchange; and,
- Data collaboration – Fostering a conducive data-sharing environment in the STP Platform and among stakeholders; exploring synthetic data generation tools; promoting the “data collaboration” concept to the community.
The Secretary for Innovation, Technology and Industry was one of the witnesses to the Collaboration Agreement Signing Ceremony, he stated that the partnership aligns with the Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Development Blueprint recently released.
With the strong support from the Central Government and the government’s commitment to I&T development, as well as Hong Kong’s unique advantages, the partnership will greatly contribute to the development of a world-class biomedical ecosystem in Hong Kong.
The CEO of HKSTP stated that the partnering firm is a global pharmaceutical leader with strong connections to business leaders, scientists, marketers, and investors globally. It is believed that the partnership will foster the development of more health talents and significantly speed up growth in our medical research, drug development, and clinical trial processes.
The Head of the firm’s China-based innovation centre stated that the company is so glad to see this collaboration happen. It is hoped that the partnership can bridge HK and other cities in China for more opportunities to exchange, collaborate and empower start-ups; accelerate conversion and commercialisation; and to bringing hope to patients in China.
The APAC Sub Region 3 Head of the firm’s diagnostics arm noted that Hong Kong has a great foundation of scientific research. The firm looks forward to this collaboration in advancing high-quality research work, building a platform for innovation and benefiting the Asian population as well as the rest of the world.
The launch ceremony was attended by various dignitaries including the Under Secretary for Innovation, Technology and Industry; the Commissioner for Innovation and Technology, the Head of APAC Area at the firm, the Head of the firm’s accelerator (CICoR), the General Manager, Hong Kong and Macau and Mr Ronald Lo, General Manager, at the firm’s Hong Kong and Macau diagnostics arms.
Recent research has found that the global life science analytics market size was valued at US$ 8.3 billion in 2021, and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.7% from 2022 to 2030. This growth is driven by the increasing adoption of analytics by the life science industry, which uses descriptive and reporting analysis for building databases and prescriptive and predictive analysis for predicting future trends and results.
Adapting, adopting and shifting methods, models and processes are unavoidable as technology develops and advances. Manufacturing robots, artificial intelligence and machine learning are just a few examples of rapidly evolving new technologies.
These technologies have the potential to save costs while enhancing output and quality. They have a vast scope and the potential to revolutionise existing enterprises and personal lives. They can make people’s lives easier while also requiring less human engagement.
Companies have realised that such cutting-edge solutions can take over specific roles and increase operational accuracy, production and efficiency. Automation and digital improvements have improved analytical, technical, and management capacities. Even today, many large technology organisations have reached a broad economic scale without a large staff base.
As a result, the workforce and skillset needs will change. Organisations require fewer people in roles managed by tech creating a greater need for employees with specific abilities.
The impact and opportunities
In an exclusive interview with Mohit Sagar, CEO and Editor-in-Chief OpenGov Asia, Michael Baron, CEO & Director of Baron Consulting Group, Singapore, believes technology changes will be positive for most people. But technological advancement may disappoint others because they may be concerned that technologies may replace their jobs.
“There will be proactive people and that people who are reactive. It is important to understand that further development is essential for people, companies and governments, to keep the nations and businesses competitive. So, I think the future will positively impact those who want to embrace the technologies. We need to focus on development rather than on keeping everyone happy,” explains Michael.
People can embrace the new technology with better utilisation. As an example, he shared how people will have gotten used to a pass-card ticketing system. Some time ago, the technology was introduced in several countries in Southeast Asia and Australia. People had to learn to adapt to the new ticketing system if they wanted to use the public transport system. While initially challenging for many, people have gotten used to it and, indeed, prefer it.
Baron urges people to view new technology as a unique opportunity. Change happens all the time in almost all spheres – sometimes rapidly and other times gradually. Businesses need to adjust their service offerings based on technological developments. It may require performing specific technology-related tasks for the companies which are no longer relevant.
“I recall a very old Chinese saying that every crisis is an opportunity. You can say that I lost my job and I lost my business proposition many times and I don’t see it as drama. I see it as an opportunity. See it as an interesting experience, a natural transformation,” Baron offers.
From a personal perspective, the analytics engine, for instance, has helped him to become a better chess player. The tools can help him to perform better in online chess games by analysing his game, understanding his mistakes and what opportunities he misses and suggesting what he should learn and how he can do better next time.
The same idea goes for organisations or governments. The private and public sectors can do better through digital transformation and utilise technological advancement to maintain their position in the marketplace. It’s not a matter of enjoying it or not embracing the norm, it’s a matter of survival. It’s a matter of remaining relevant, of addressing the challenges by delivering better.
According to Baron, what is happening now is that traditional players are losing market share very fast and possibly don’t even understand the market anymore. So, it is vital to reshape themselves, adopt new goals and embrace new technology.
As a big fan of predictive analytics, he believes that analytics can break into the past to build a better future. Citing a Greek philosopher that said history repeats itself implies this results in variations in a range of operations. So predictive analytics will play a role in calculating the future based on what happened in the past and emulate it for future problems.
In terms of challenges, Baron believes that security, privacy and controls will still be a big problem in the future. Ethical factors are also emerging around the globe today. Organisations with international presence have to comply with all the multiple countries’ respective laws and regulations regarding data ownership and management.
Sooner or later, organisations need to ensure compliance. Even though technology tends to develop faster than legal frameworks, ultimately all countries create regulatory frameworks.
Cultural spirit and political drive
Baron is convinced that both the private and public sectors can drive the technology improvements. Whether it is public or private-driven innovation, it is essential to keep forward-facing if an organisation or a nation intends to survive.
He acknowledges several governments’ efforts to stay ahead of the digital transformation journey, such as Japan, China and Singapore. These countries demonstrate how they can be leaders through cultural spirit and technology utilisation rather than only depending on their natural resources.
After World War Two, Japan’s economy was in a very difficult situation, dealing with the devastation and a lack of natural resources. They faced these challenges head-on by utilising technology and aggressively pursuing digital solutions. Eventually, they not only became a leading economy but were a global benchmark for development.
China, too, has a robust digital and technology vision for the country and has seen remarkable success. From a largely agrarian/rural society, it is now the second-largest economy worldwide. It is a great example of how political will plays a significant role in driving technology-enabled progress.
As for Singapore, the country has become a leading exponent of technology and digital innovation. Compensating for a lack of resources with heavy investment in technological development, innovation and education. They have harnessed their multicultural heritage and been wise in how they use their existing resources. Infrastructure, policies and pathways have made the nation a preferred destination for investment and international tech workers.
LKYGBPC entrepreneurial pathway
Technology development has a massive impact on future employment, hence the entrepreneurial path is one of the solutions to answering the challenge. As a member of the International Judging Panel (IJP) for the Lee Kuan Yew Global Business Plan Competition (LKYGBPC), Baron encourages people not just to embrace the ideas of others but to work with their ideas. He believes that everybody has something to bring to the table.
Teaching about technologies and related subjects, helping people acquire the necessary skills and traits, and providing the right environment is essential to foster entrepreneurship. But a little more is needed to create a culture of entrepreneurship.
He considers the international competition a fantastic way to bring a lot of global talent together to actualize their dream, to be inspired, express their concerns,and to find solutions. The competition creates the right environment to put ideas together and tailor them to suit specific marketplaces.
The competition is a chance for people with ideas to organise themselves, present their ideas to the big wide world and have a shot at being successful. To Baron, there should be more calls for international competitions they allow ideas to travel beyond the borders to create a better future for the world.
Data has been regarded as critical in developing China’s data services economy and promoting industrial and government digitalisation. According to a whitepaper published by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), China ranks first in terms of the total number of accepted patents linked to big data, accounting for more than half of all globally in 2021.
Recognising its significance, China has increased its investment in big data research. The white paper revealed that China accounted for 31% of the world’s published studies on big data.
CAICT demonstrated that the general level of China’s big-data technology industry has substantially improved, innovation capacity is being expanded, and the market forecast is widely acknowledged. In 2021, the total number of big-data market participants in China will approach 180,000, and investment in big-data-related firms will reach a new high of 80 billion yuan (US$11.6 billion).
“In 2022, China continues to step up its efforts in terms of policies, talent, and money, providing a significant push for the continuing growth of big data,” told Yu Xiaohui, CAICT’s head.
The whitepaper gave at the 5th Data Asset Management Conference. It gave a comprehensive overview and analysis of the current situation, difficulties, and developments in data storage and computing, data management, data circulation, data application, and data security.
As a realisation step to its big data objectives, China’s investment in large data centres is predicted to increase by more than 20% per year (2021-25). As a result, cumulative investment in linked industries is expected to exceed 3 trillion yuan (US$ 471 billion), according to the country’s top economic regulator.
Furthermore, the country has approved the construction of eight national computing hubs and proposals for ten national data centre clusters to increase overall computing power and resource efficiency.
As per National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) data, 25 new projects were launched in the ten national data centre clusters this year, resulting in a total investment of more than 190 billion yuan (US$ 28,7 billion). Investment in western regions has increased six-fold over the previous year, accounting for 60% of overall investment. The NDRC declared that the next stage would be to increase efforts to successfully encourage investment in upstream and downstream industries and promote the large-scale and green development of Big Data centres.
Meanwhile, the scale of China’s big data industry is expected to exceed 3 trillion RMB (US$ 471 billion) by 2025, with a compound growth rate of about 25%, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology’s (MIIT) development plan.
The plan also intends to establish a data element value evaluation system, strengthen the basis of the big data industry, create a stable and efficient industrial chain, and encourage the growth of the industrial environment.
MIIT also called for improved cross-border big data security management in a five-year strategy until 2025. The initiative comes as the country moves forward with its data and technology regulatory framework. It reaffirms data as a production factor and a national strategic resource.
Aside from that, China recognises that, as data volumes increase, it must adopt laws to promote the effective use and circulation of public, personal, and corporate data and strengthen governance over data resources. Accordingly, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council, or Cabinet, generates a plan to develop a data ownership system, a circulation and trading system, and a way to distribute digital currency.
The new guidelines are intended to encourage the lawful and efficient use of data to empower the real economy and allow individuals to benefit from the rise of the digital economy. The new policies also will enable the country to respond to the global technological revolution and industrial transformation while increasing its international competitiveness.
The first national data centre (PDN) in Indonesia, according to Minister of Communication and Informatics Johnny G. Plate, will be designed as a green government cloud built to Tier-4 standards – the best data centre standard in the world.
The PDN will be located about 40 kilometres from Jakarta and will have 25,000 processor cores, 40 Petabytes of storage, and 200 TB of memory.
“Everything is green and environmentally friendly. However, it’s not easy because you must meet the standards and certification requirements,” Minister Johnny explained to media workers after an inspection of the National Data Centre construction site in the Greenland International Industrial Centre Deltamas area of Cikarang, Bekasi, West Java.
According to Minister Johnny, the global Tier-4 International Standards require an uninterrupted data centre with a water-cooling system. Therefore, in terms of power supply or electricity, 20 Megawatts will be provided for the first time, with the capacity to be increased to 80 Megawatts to ensure its availability with no downtime.
Minister Johnny has encouraged the team to expedite the construction of Indonesia’s first National Data Centre (PDN). The centre’s construction is scheduled to last 24 months. The PDN’s effective operational date begins with fulfilling all contract precedent conditions. PDN construction has been underway for approximately two months since the project’s inception.
“I believe the progress is much faster than 8% because there is a lot of progress that is not physically visible, such as design issues or other management issues that have been completed, but these developments must be submitted regularly,” said Minister Johnny.
Nonetheless, the Minister of Communication and Information emphasised that he would conduct direct and periodic monitoring in the form of a progress review meeting so that construction could proceed more quickly and without incident.
Establishing this data centre is critical to support more efficient and effective state administration. PDN supports data interoperability to create One Data Indonesia or the government’s data-driven policy. According to the minister, the existence of PDN will benefit all government agencies’ services and the development of national digital talent.
According to Minster Johnny, the presence of PDN can support digital human resource development programmes. Including bolstering the Ministry of Communication and Information’s efforts to prepare digital literacy training, Digital Talent Scholarships, and Digital Leadership Academy to support the government in the SPBE framework, thevdigital economy, MSMEs and Ultra Micro Go Digital and various creations of innovations in the digital sector.
The first government data centre was built through a collaboration between Indonesia and France, with a contract value of EUR 164.6 million (US$175.64 million). Johnny explained that the French government is funding 85% of the development, and 15% is funded by pure Rupiah APBN. In addition, the French government has made a 15% down payment, or the equivalent of IDR 376 billion (US$24 million).
Meanwhile, in separate conversations, Semuel Abrijani Pangerapan, Director General of Informatics Applications at the Ministry of Communication and Informatics, revealed the PDN ecosystem includes cloud computing, big data analytics and artificial intelligence, blockchain, and the metaverse. Hence The National Data Centre is expected to result in intelligent and modern governance.
The Ministry has planned four PDN development sites: the Deltamas Industrial Estate (Jabodetabek) area, the Nongsa Digital Park (Batam) area, East Kalimantan’s new National Capital City (IKN), and Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara.
Following the initial PDN construction in Cikarang, West Java, the second PDN will be built in the Nongsa neighbourhood of Batam City, Riau Archipelago Province. At this location, a fibre optic network capable of connecting the area and its environs to western Indonesia already exists. The second PDN development site will be in IKN and Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara.
As the importance of data has grown in recent years, China has taken steps to develop policies that would promote the effective use and circulation of public, personal, and corporate data following rules, as well as increase governance over data resources. It has also emphasised the importance of developing a system that ensures the unhindered flow of data across the border securely and legally.
A document was released by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council, or Cabinet. The paper outlined strategies for developing the fundamental infrastructure for data governance and effectively utilising data, which will energise the digital economy.
The paper empowers the real economy and allows the public to profit more from digital progress, critical components of the digital economy’s growth. The initiative includes creating a data ownership system, a circulation and trading system, and a method for distributing digital currency.
According to a National Development and Reform Commission official, the new rules are meant to encourage the lawful and efficient use of data to empower the real economy and allow people to share the benefits of the digital economy’s growth. According to the official, the new measures will enable the country to respond to the global technological revolution and industrial transformation while improving its international competitiveness.
Another issue addressed in the document is the importance of lowering the threshold for market participants to gain access to data while strengthening personal information protection and establishing a system for identifying individuals’ and companies’ rights in the production, transfer, and use of data. China will also create an authorisation process for the use of personal data and take steps to standardise the use of this information by enterprises and avoid excessive data collection.
Data is the core element for the growth of the digital economy, according to Ouyang Rihui, Professor of Digital Economics at the Chinese Internet Economy Research Institute at the Central University of Finance and Economics, and the latest policy document has laid the groundwork for making it a critical factor in digital growth.
He explained that the steps would assist in transforming data into development resources and preparing it for market alignment. Notably, the agreement seeks to balance protecting personal information and its research and use.
The policy was set up to encourage the efficient use and circulation of public, personal, and corporate data in accordance with rules and to strengthen data resource governance. The government will coordinate efforts to create efficient, standardised data trading platforms, a single set of trading and security technologies, and infrastructure facilities for data circulation.
Internationally, China will accelerate the development of infrastructure for cross-border digital trade and will take an active part in developing international standards and procedures for data flow, security, certification, and evaluation, as well as digital currencies.
The documents include taking initiatives such as fostering cooperation between Chinese and foreign enterprises and organisations and supporting foreign investors’ efforts to enter newly opened sectors to enhance the orderly two-way cross-border flow of data.
It also emphasised the importance of conducting national security reviews of activities such as data processing, cross-border data flow, and foreign investor mergers and acquisitions. China will reject data hegemony and protectionism and develop compelling answers to some countries’ long-arm jurisdictions.
Yang Qiang, Head of the Computer Science and Engineering Department at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, wrote in a research paper that China had maintained an advantage in the development of standards for cross-border data flow because of its leading technologies in data security and privacy protection, robust computing foundation, and massive digital economy.
According to Yang, contributing to developing rules and standards for digital technologies will boost China’s discourse power in digital trade, improve its autonomous bilateral and multilateral alliances, and protect China’s interests in the global revenue-sharing process.
A worldwide market with fair competition is in the world’s best interests and that extreme data protectionism is the wrong option. Encouraging foreign enterprises to engage in data services will allow them to explore the value of sharing data, play an active role in newly opened industries, and stimulate the establishment of international rules to ensure fair competition.
Thailand hopes to save more than 5 billion baht annually by implementing the Government Platform for PDPA Compliance (GPPC). Therefore, the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, the National Digital Economy and Society Commission, and the Personal Data Protection Commission jointly organised a seminar to kick-start the development of the government platform.
More than 300 academics attended the seminar. The event also aimed at executives from 200 government and private agencies. They will discuss criteria, mechanisms, and regulatory measures for personal data protection at the event.
Chaiwut Thanakmanusorn, Minister of Digital Economy and Society, emphasised that the data protection act has become a central law governing public and private sector operations. All activities involving collecting, using, or disclosing personal data must adhere to the terms of the Personal Data Protection Act B.E. 2019.
“To prepare for all sectors in practice to be in the same direction, efficient and in line with international standards, the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society has prepared a draft. The draft policy for government platform development is in line with personal data protection laws and has already been approved by the National Digital Economy and Society Committee,” Chaiwut explained.
The National Digital Economy and Society Committee approved the draft at the 3/2021 meeting on November 18, 2021. It will serve as a framework for the platform’s development direction and goals. Implementing personal data protection will reduce the burden on the overall government budget, build trust and support the development of digital technology.
The Personal Data Protection Commission (SorSorSor) and the National Digital Economy and Society Commission (NorSorChor) have been tasked with jointly promoting and developing government platforms to support Personal Data Protection Laws compliance. In addition, both agencies will ensure the platform’s long-term viability and expansion.
Special Professor Wisit Wisitsorn-at, Permanent Secretary for Digital Economy and Society, added that the country currently relies on international platforms that charge an annual fee, wasting the national budget. Creating government platforms to support compliance with personal data protection legislation is expected to save the government more than 5,000 million baht annually. Furthermore, the project will benefit the private sector in the future. In addition, the government permits entrepreneurs to use the platform for further open-source development.
One of the primary goals of the GPPC is to design and develop government platforms to support compliance with personal data protection laws. The platform organises activities to increase knowledge and understanding of personal data protection, as well as guidelines and processes for monitoring and supervising compliance on a global scale.
Siwarak Siwamoksatham, Secretary-General of the Personal Data Protection Committee, found that the act covers all actions of any person or entity that collects, uses, or discloses personal data and performs as a data controller or a data processor and that they must have the duty and responsibility to carry out the law’s requirements. Accordingly, government agencies that are juristic persons whose mission is to collect, use, or disclose personal data are considered data controllers whose responsibility must comply with this law’s requirements.
Furthermore, GPPC was established to assist government agencies in meeting legal requirements more appropriately and efficiently. Moreover, implementing this project will strengthen the country’s data protection.
After being delayed since 2019, Thailand’s first-ever personal data protection law went into effect on June 1, 2022. The law establishes enterprises’ responsibilities for collecting and processing personal data. The government is expected to grant SMEs a grace period to comply with the new law.