The Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech) is conducting an international study (survey link) on Open Data with the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). This is part of a data.gov.sg (Singapore government’s open data repository) campaign that GovTech is running.
The study seeks to compare open government data initiatives across ten countries (US, UK, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Finland, Mexico, Australia, France and India) to assess the usage and perception of open data in each country.
In response to a query from OpenGov on the selection of the countries, GovTech stated that the 10 countries have been proposed by EIU, based on EIU’s desk research. The selection was based on the countries meeting one or more of the following criteria: recognised leader in open government data, presence of interesting open government data initiatives or geographic location to capture cultural differences.
The study is being conducted through a 5-minute online survey. Regarding the intended audience, GovTech clarified that the survey is targeting people who have some awareness of OGD.
Governments have been collecting and holding huge volumes of some of the most valuable data in the world. The pace has surged with technological developments during the last 10-15 years. Opening up data, so that it can be accessed, analysed and distributed by anyone, within or outside government is essential to unlocking the potential of data. And governments around the world and in the region are working towards opening datasets and boosting their usage.
OGD is helping citizens make more informed decisions in their daily lives. It is allowing developers to make free use of Open Government Data (OGD) to create services and applications to improve the lives of citizens. It can help commuters plan their trips on public transport more easily, monitor the environment, and track performance of educational institutions.
The survey will provide valuable information on the patterns and purposes of data usage, the barriers hindering access and use and what more could governments do to encourage usage of OGD.
For purposes of the survey, OGD is defined as non-classified and non-personal data and content that can be freely used, modified, and shared by anyone for any purpose.
“Apps” refers to any software applications, either for computers or mobile devices, that use OGD to provide information and services to users.
Please click on the link below to participate:
The survey is open until the 20th of April. All respondents will receive a free copy of the survey results from EIU.
Singapore’s Minister Josephine Teo recently addressed the Singapore Conference on Artificial Intelligence, emphasising the nation’s commitment to learning, contributing, and posing critical questions in the realm of AI. Drawing parallels to Singapore’s historical challenges, the Minister highlighted the significance of seeking answers collaboratively.
Minister Josephine reflected on Singapore’s journey as an independent nation, underscoring the importance of seeking wise counsel from international experts. Notably, she mentioned Dr Albert Winsemius, who played a pivotal role as Singapore’s Chief Economic Advisor, advising the nation to focus on attracting foreign investments—a decision that propelled Singapore into an industrial powerhouse.
While acknowledging the value of global advice, Minister Josephine stressed a crucial difference in Singapore’s approach to AI. The nation aims not only to learn from the world but also to contribute significantly. The Singapore Conference on Artificial Intelligence (SCAI) serves as a platform to foster international collaboration—a brain trust where experts and thought leaders can share knowledge and ideas.
Minister Josephine drew attention to Singapore’s water story, highlighting the nation’s innovative solutions to address its existential water challenge. Through technologies like membrane filtration and desalination, Singapore transformed from heavily relying on imported water to producing “NEWater,” now supplying 40% of the country’s water needs.
Besides, Singapore freely shares its water management expertise through events like the Singapore International Water Week, showcasing the nation’s commitment to addressing global challenges collaboratively.
While acknowledging AI as a general-purpose technology, Minister Josephine recognised its potential for both positive and negative impacts. She outlined the commendable applications of AI, such as drug discovery and personalised learning, but also stressed the risks, including biases, cybercrime, and potential societal disruptions. Minister Josephine reiterated Singapore’s commitment to embracing AI innovations while confronting associated risks.
Drawing inspiration from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Minister Josephine proposed a holistic, system-oriented approach to addressing AI’s challenges and opportunities. Much like TCM practitioners aim for holistic health, SCAI adopts a systems-oriented perspective to identify strategic points for focused efforts in the AI landscape.
Minister Josephine also highlighted SCAI’s goal of identifying critical questions in AI that, if systematically answered, can enable AI to serve the global good. She drew parallels to a talk by Dr Lydia Liu, emphasising the need to move beyond theoretical fairness criteria in AI to consider system dynamics and interaction effects for practical impact.
In its pursuit of AI development, Singapore aims to create a new equilibrium by focusing on specific outcomes, measuring progress, and addressing both risks and opportunities. The SCAI conference serves as an experiment, bringing together diverse perspectives from 16 countries and various sectors to form an international brain trust for AI.
Minister Josephine expressed hope that SCAI would contribute to international cooperation on AI, forging connections and friendships to address complex AI issues collectively. Singapore’s unique approach and diverse participation underscore its dedication to fostering a global brain trust to navigate the intricate landscape of AI for the global good.
As AI technologies continue to advance, their potential to address global challenges, such as healthcare, poverty, and climate change, becomes increasingly evident. Therefore, a comprehensive understanding is essential to leverage AI for the betterment of humanity while mitigating potential negative consequences.
The ethical dimensions of AI development and deployment are significant considerations. An understanding of AI for the global good facilitates the creation of ethical frameworks and guidelines, ensuring responsible and fair use of these technologies. This approach emphasises the importance of ethical considerations in harnessing the power of AI to benefit societies worldwide.
A Digital Roadmap for Economic Recovery is pivotal in the contemporary landscape, offering multifaceted benefits. It ensures technological resilience by equipping nations with advanced tools like artificial intelligence (AI) and IoT, fostering efficiency, reducing costs, and enhancing global competitiveness.
Experts and business executives believe that the digital economy’s revitalisation and the merging of digital and physical industries will be crucial factors in propelling China’s economic recovery. Hailed as the leading edge of industrial development, the digital economy is now a crucial component of China’s development plan.
Tech companies are being strongly advised to invest in cutting-edge technology, conduct fundamental research, and investigate strategically important but future-focused areas. The main goal is obvious: strengthen technical innovation capacities to bring in a new phase of development and modernise established sectors.
The need to foster new momentum and advance traditional sectors is at the top of China’s development agenda. This need highlights the significance of the Central Economic Work Conference, which is coming up soon. This important gathering usually establishes the priorities for economic development and sets the tone for macroeconomic policy for the coming year.
Wu Hequan, an academic at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, notes that “innovative digital technologies like 5G, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and the internet of things are weaving their magic across diverse industries, from manufacturing to agriculture, and hastening integration with the tangible economy.”
He highlights that fostering the digital economy is essential to gain a competitive edge, accelerate digital transformation, modernise established sectors, and efficiently support the tangible economy.
China’s digital economy soared to 50.2 trillion yuan (S$7.01 trillion) in 2022, securing its position as the world’s second-largest digital economy, constituting 41.5% of its GDP, as the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology reported.
China has outlined a strategic plan that includes concrete measures for building data resource systems and digital infrastructure. The State Council and the Central Committee of China jointly announced a plan that highlights the commitment to further integrating digital technology into the country’s politics, economy, society, culture, and ecology.
The head of the China Society of Industrial Economics, Jiang Xiaojuan, emphasised that traditional industries will be the primary arena for the emergence of the digital economy. She stressed how important it is to build a market system for data elements and discover hidden value in large data sets.
Further, platform enterprises are the pivotal figures in this digital transformation. Given China’s position as the world’s largest online consumer market and its extensive digital infrastructure, capitalising on these platforms has become critical for economic growth.
The National Data Administration pledges to share notable investment cases with other government agencies, bolstering support for these businesses to play a more dynamic role in propelling the digital economy.
This strategic approach generates employment opportunities in emerging fields, necessitates skill development, and encourages economic diversification by fostering the growth of digital industries alongside traditional sectors.
Additionally, the digital roadmap facilitates informed decision-making through a data-driven approach, enhances connectivity domestically and internationally, and promotes sustainable development practices. As consumer behaviours evolve, the strategy adapts businesses to changing preferences, making e-commerce and digital services essential components.
From a governance perspective, digitalisation streamlines processes, contributing to a business-friendly environment and fostering economic growth. In essence, this comprehensive approach not only addresses current challenges but positions nations to thrive in the evolving digital age.
The principle of inclusivity is key to ensuring the rapid progress of the digital economy can anticipate new challenges and narrow existing gaps. For instance, generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) can add up to US$4.4 Trillion. Of course, this added value will materialise for the global economy every year when well-regulated. Therefore, a synergistic strategy is needed at the worldwide level to align the pace of technological growth with each country’s readiness and digital capacity.
Secretary-General of the Ministry of Communication and Information, Mira Tayyiba, emphasised that Indonesia can seriously address the implementation of a vision and a global economic strategy that is inclusive and sustainable. In this context, Mira identified three main elements that serve as the foundation for Indonesia’s approach to the global economy:
- The centrality of human aspects, emphasised as “human-centricity,” demonstrates Indonesia’s commitment to ensuring that economic development provides material benefits and enhances the well-being and justice of the entire society.
- The commitment to coexist and collectively create a fair playing field underscores the importance of cooperation and equality in creating a fair economic environment.
- Mira Tayyiba highlighted the need for fair and equal opportunities for everyone to develop, creating a foundation that stimulates inclusive and sustainable growth.
By focusing on implementing inclusive and sustainable principles in the context of the digital economy, Indonesia declares its determination to be an active global player in the digital realm and a pioneer in creating an economic model that benefits all layers of society.
Regarding the first element, Mira emphasised that digital technology needs to be developed by considering its latest aspects and respecting human values and diversity.
Further, she provided examples of cases such as misinformation and disinformation produced by AI that caused socio-political turmoil. The biased facial recognition software against certain social groups also led to wrongful arrests by authorities. “All of these serve as a reminder that the development of digital technology must prioritise the centrality of human aspects,” she emphasised.
The second element relates to collaborative solutions between developed and developing countries, technology producers and users, and global technology companies and local industry players. Collaborations are crucial, considering the rapid progress of technology can create economic imbalances that may pose new problems for developing countries.
The third element, related to fair and equal opportunities for all layers of society to thrive in the digital era, is essential in building the future of an inclusive and sustainable digital economy. Mira explained a series of efforts and concrete steps considered necessary for all countries to face the dynamics of the digital era. One key aspect raised is the provision of digital connectivity that is not only accessible to all layers of society but also affordable and adequate. In facing global challenges in the digital economy, equal access to digital connectivity is the main foundation to ensure that all segments of society can feel the benefits of the digital revolution.
Additionally, Mira highlighted the importance of facilitating literacy and digital skills training. Recognising that digital transformation is not only related to physical infrastructure but also requires mastery of relevant digital skills, the Ministry of Communication and Information proposed the need for support for training programmes to enhance digital literacy among the public. This includes not only the use of hardware and software but also a deep understanding of the impact of digitisation on various aspects of life.
The importance of addressing the threat of technology misuse also becomes a focus in the view of the Ministry of Communication and Information. In efforts to create a safe digital ecosystem, protecting the public from the potential misuse or exploitation of technology is a top priority. This includes efforts to ensure that existing regulations and policies can effectively address new challenges that emerge with technological advancements.
Several international organisations focused on economic development, and leaders from the private sector convened at a meeting to exchange perspectives on guaranteeing a digital economy that is accessible to all. “Ensuring an inclusive process in the global digital strategy is crucial, and this strategy must be able to withstand the existing dynamics,” emphasised Rebecca Grynspan, Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
In an era where digital transformation is increasingly dominating, Indonesia sees it as essential to take a proactive role in ensuring that the entire population can enjoy the positive impacts of digital economic growth, ensuring that no one is left behind in the fourth industrial revolution era.
The Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) of Singapore and Mexico’s National Institute for Transparency, Access to Information and Personal Data Protection (INAI) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), highlighting the growing significance of international cooperation in the digital age. This marks a significant milestone as the first such collaboration between Singapore and a Latin American country’s data protection authority.
The collaboration acknowledged that data governance and the seamless flow of information across borders are imperative for fostering global trade in the digital economy. Recognising personal data protection as a shared concern, the MoU aims to build trust and facilitate secure cross-border data flows between the two nations.
Commissioner of PDPC, Lew Chuen Hong, and Commissioner Josefina Román Vergara of INAI Mexico formally sealed this partnership, signifying a commitment to navigating the complexities of the digital age together.
The collaboration’s focal points include the development of compatible data transfer mechanisms that will serve as the foundation for trusted cross-border data flows. Technological innovation also takes centre stage, with both authorities pledging to cooperate in fostering advancements that enable these secure data exchanges.
Beyond this, the MoU sets the stage for an exchange of information, sharing best practices, and collaborative research on emerging privacy and data protection issues and trends.
Commissioner Josefina Román Vergara of Mexico’s INAI perceived this collaboration as a pivotal stride toward a future where nations work hand in hand to confront the challenges of the digital era. “By focusing on the development of compatible data transfer mechanisms, technological innovation, and information exchange, through this MoU we are not only shaping our digital futures, but also setting a standard for global cooperation,” she remarked.
Singapore’s PDPC shares a similar sentiment, expressing its commitment to facilitating responsible cross-border data flows. The MoU with Mexico’s INAI is viewed as a significant leap forward in bridging the fragmented global landscape for personal data protection. Commissioner Lew Chuen Hong emphasised the importance of the collaboration, stating, “We look forward very much to working closely with Mexico on this.”
The scope of the MoU extends beyond the technical aspects of data transfer and innovation. It encompasses the continued sharing of experiences and the exchange of best practices on data protection.
Both countries commit to providing mutual assistance in cross-border personal data incidents that contravene their respective data protection legislations. This not only reflects a commitment to data security but also establishes a framework for cooperation in addressing challenges that may arise in the enforcement of data protection laws.
As the digital landscape evolves, Singapore’s PDPC remains dedicated to actively collaborating and strengthening global cooperation on personal data protection. The renewal of the MoU with Australia’s Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) at the 60th Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities (APPA) Forum in Sydney underscores Singapore’s commitment to fostering international partnerships in safeguarding personal data.
These collaborative efforts by Singapore’s PDPC with Mexico’s INAI and Australia’s OAIC highlight the shared recognition of the global nature of personal data protection. In an era where information knows no borders, such collaborations set the stage for standardised practices, innovation, and mutual support in addressing the challenges posed by the digital age.
Digital collaboration, according to PDPC, is critical for modern organisations seeking to thrive in a dynamic and interconnected world. It not only improves efficiency and productivity, but it also allows for global connectivity, fosters innovation, and promotes flexible work arrangements, all of which contribute to the success and competitiveness of businesses and teams.
The National Cybercrime Threat Analytics Unit (NCTAU), a vertical under the Indian Cybercrime Coordination Centre (I4C), identified and recommended action against over 100 websites engaged in organised investment or task-based part-time job frauds The I4C is a Ministry of Home Affairs initiative designed to address cybercrime in the country through a coordinated and comprehensive approach.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), exercising its authority under the Information Technology Act of 2000, has blocked these websites. These platforms, which posted task-based illegal investment-related economic crimes, were found to be operated by foreign entities. They used digital advertisements, chat messengers, and mule or rented accounts as part of their operations.
Additionally, it has come to light that the gains from these large-scale economic frauds were laundered out of India through various means, including card networks, cryptocurrency transactions, overseas ATM withdrawals, and international fintech companies.
In this regard, numerous complaints were lodged through the 1930 helpline and the National Cyber Reporting Portal (NCRP), highlighting the substantial threat these offences posed to citizens, along with concerns related to data security. Typically, these frauds entail the following steps:
- Targeted digital advertisements are launched on major search engines and social media sites using key phrases like “work-from-home” and “ways to make money from home” in multiple languages. These advertisements originate from overseas advertisers and predominantly target retired individuals, women, and unemployed youth seeking part-time employment.
- Upon clicking the advertisement, an agent initiates a conversation with the potential victim through a messaging service. The agent persuades the individual to perform various tasks, such as liking videos, subscribing to channels, rating maps, and similar online activities.
- After completing the assigned task, the victim is initially rewarded with a commission. Subsequently, the victim is urged to invest more capital with the promise of higher returns for additional tasks.
- Once the victim, having gained confidence deposits a larger sum, the deposits are subsequently frozen, resulting in the victim being deceived.
As a precautionary measure, the government has advised citizens to exercise due diligence before investing in any online schemes that promise exceptionally high commissions and are promoted over the Internet. Furthermore, when an unfamiliar individual contacts someone through an online messaging service, individuals should avoid carrying out financial transactions without proper verification.
The name of the receiver mentioned in the Unified Payments Interface application should be verified. If the recipient appears to be a random person, it could be indicative of a mule account, and the scheme may be fraudulent. Likewise, individuals should scrutinise the source from which the initial commission is received.
Citizens are strongly advised to abstain from conducting transactions with unfamiliar accounts, as they may be implicated in activities such as money laundering and potentially even terror financing. Engaging in such transactions could result in the blocking of accounts by law enforcement and other legal actions.
Establishing a ‘Cyber Safe India’ is one of the Ministry of Home Affairs’ top priorities. In a recent press release, it reiterated that it is dedicated to combating cybercrime and safeguarding individuals from cyber threats. Citizens are encouraged to promptly report the phone numbers and social media handles used by fraudsters to the National Cyber Reporting Portal (NCRP).
India is actively prioritising cybersecurity readiness and advocating for enhanced protection among citizens, government personnel, agencies, and organisations. The country is spearheading efforts to fortify digital defences, ensuring a resilient and secure cyber landscape across all sectors.
OpenGov Asia reported that the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology’s National e-Governance Division conducted a comprehensive CISO Deep-Dive Training Programme, part of the Cyber Surakshit Bharat initiative, to enhance cybersecurity awareness and empower government officials across India against escalating cyber threats.
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin attended an event in Bangkok, focusing on the collaboration between a tech giant and the Thai government to advance the nation’s digital economy. The Premier highlighted the company’s technological prowess in AI and Cloud services, which aligns with the government’s commitment to inclusive digital development under the theme “Leave No Thai Behind.”
The Prime Minister also mentioned the government’s Cloud-First policy to foster a robust AI-based economy, integrating Public and Private Clouds with high data management standards. The Ministry of Digital Economy and Society has been tasked with spearheading these efforts through practical applications and improving public services through technologies such as Generative AI.
The Prime Minister conveyed his positive views on the enduring collaboration between Thailand and the tech giant, which cultivates a favourable setting for the growth of AI and Cloud technologies, aiming to guarantee that every Thai reaps the benefits of these digital evolutions.
The Prime Minister pointed out the government’s proactive digital-first policies and Thailand’s position as an attractive destination for global business investment. A notable outcome of this collaboration is the MoU announced at the APEC meeting in San Francisco, covering the expansion of digital infrastructure, responsible Cloud and AI use in government services, a Cloud-First Policy, and the enhancement of digital skills in Thailand.
With the signing of the MoU, the Thai government are poised to collaborate, charting the course for the nation’s digital transformation through comprehensive efforts focused on workforce empowerment, sustainability, and cutting-edge digital infrastructure. This agreement solidifies the vision of an AI-driven Thailand at the forefront of digital innovation.
The MoU seeks to bolster Thailand’s economic edge while fostering a digitally advanced ecosystem. Emphasising the creation of high-value jobs and sharpening the nation’s competitive edge, the partnership aims to position Thailand as a regional leader in digital prowess and sustainability.
Prime Minister Thavisin, while participating in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in San Francisco, held discussions with the company, outlining the strategic objectives embedded within this collaborative venture.
The Prime Minister reiterated Thailand’s commitment to sustainable progress and renewable energy and aligned these ambitions with the company’s overarching vision, “This collaboration will strengthen our country’s economy while enhancing our digital capability.”
A wide spectrum of topics emerged during their discussions, including the blueprint for a digital-first Thailand, steering the nation towards an AI-empowered future, equipping Thai citizens for the evolving landscape of work and life, and propelling Thailand towards a leadership role in green growth initiatives.
Aligned with the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society’s digital government and cloud-first strategies, the company commits to close collaboration with Thai government bodies to propel smart digital infrastructure development across critical sectors like agriculture, healthcare, tourism, and education.
The collaboration seeks to pave the way for data centre investments to amplify cloud and AI utilisation in Thailand, while concurrently enhancing the nation’s cybersecurity posture with the company’s global best practices and expertise.
Furthermore, the partnership intends to integrate AI into government projects and public services, paving the path for establishing an AI Centre of Excellence to expedite ongoing public-sector AI initiatives, define comprehensive AI implementation plans, and foster innovation across multiple industries.
Policy and regulatory frameworks for responsible AI use in Thailand are also on the agenda, coupled with the company’s commitment to upskilling 10 million Thais, ensuring they are equipped with crucial skills for the future.
Noteworthy environmental initiatives are also part of the plan, with the creation of a sustainability sandbox aimed at expediting Thailand’s journey towards net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2065. This endeavour encompasses scalable initiatives catering to the public sector, large enterprises, and small businesses.
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) intends to gradually substitute Closed Loop Delhi Metro Smart Cards with Open Loop National Common Mobility Cards (NCMC). The move allows customers to use the same card for both metro and bus journeys nationwide within the NCMC-compliant system. The transport card enables users to make payments for various services, including transit fares, tolls (toll tax), cash withdrawals, and more.
Customers will benefit from the convenience of using their bank-issued NCMC card for making fare payments, ensuring a seamless and efficient transaction process. The NCMC system actively encourages a cashless environment, aligning with modern payment trends and contributing to a more secure and streamlined travel experience. Additionally, users can easily recharge their NCMC online or at designated recharge points, providing a hassle-free and straightforward approach to managing their cards. This integrated set of features enhances the overall ease and efficiency of utilising the NCMC system for transportation needs.
DMRC has communicated that it is not encountering any delays or challenges in implementing NCMC, citing compliance with guidelines from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Additionally, other metro rail systems are gradually transitioning from the Closed Loop Card System to NCMC.
NCMC, issued by banks, is a prepaid and secure dual EMV card that ensures a high level of security and reliability in transactions. It is linked to the Paytm Payments Bank wallet, offering versatile utility for various purposes such as travel, in-store payments, and online shopping, among others.
NCMC is universally accepted for all retail point-of-sale (POS) devices, providing a broader scope of usability. In contrast, closed-loop cards are limited to acceptance only within their specific operating environments.
Launched in 2015, the Digital India programme is a comprehensive initiative aimed at ensuring digital access, inclusion, and empowerment, fostering a knowledge-based economy and a digitally empowered society by uniting a myriad of ideas for widespread development and efficient service delivery to all citizens.
In line with the Digital India vision, the National Common Mobility Card (NCMC), introduced in 2019 as part of the “Make in India” initiative by the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (MoHUA), seeks to address cash payment challenges in transportation, establishing an affordable and reliable system spanning all modes of transit.
The project’s ultimate objective is to introduce the “One Nation One Card” for seamless transit transactions while extending the utility of NCMC for low-value offline retail transactions, furthering the objectives of the Digital India initiative.
Countries across the world are integrating technology into public transportation systems, enhancing travel experiences by making them more convenient and efficient. Earlier this year, the Viet-Smart Travel Card was launched by the Tourism Information Technology Centre (TITC) under the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.
Developed under the “Vietnamese Card – One National Card” initiative led by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Smart Travel Card provides users with the convenience of one-touch and online payment capabilities. Apart from transportation and tourism, it seamlessly integrates into healthcare, banking, trade, and education services.
The Smart Travel Card is incorporated into the “Vietnam Travel” application. By downloading the app, tourists not only acquire smart travel cards but also unlock a wide array of technological features. These include the capability to book airline tickets and hotels, purchase e-tickets, access digital tourist maps, and search for businesses offering travel-related services.
In August, the Nelson City Council in New Zealand unveiled the Ebus OnDemand application, providing passengers with a convenient and efficient means to request bus rides through a mobile app or by calling a dedicated number.
As OpenGov Asia reported, the OnDemand service aims to broaden access, serving a larger population through flexible operations tailored to passengers’ preferred travel destinations rather than adhering to a fixed route that may only cater to certain areas of the community. The service expands travel possibilities, reaching destinations as far as Marsden Valley Road and Monaco. Passengers benefit from precise arrival information, significantly reducing waiting times and enhancing overall travel experience.