New Zealand’s Broadcasting,
Communications and Digital Media Minister Clare Curran has announced
a comprehensive refresh of the country’s approach to cyber security.
This is being done in view of the increasing number and sophistication
of cyber threats and the opportunities for criminals and other states to gain
advantage and cause harm in New Zealand. New Zealander’s widespread use of
connected devices and the security challenges of emerging technology are
intensifying the problems.
The National Cyber Security Centre estimates that advanced
cyber threats could potentially cause $640m harm annually to New Zealand’s
organisations of national significance.
The Ardern Coalition Government has specifically stated an aim
to close the digital divide by 2020 and it has committed to the objective of
ICT being the second largest contributor to GDP by 2025.
responsive cyber security system would be essential for achieving
these objectives. “We must protect the information and network systems that are
vital to our economic growth, ensure the integrity and security of our
increasingly digitalised government services and make sure Kiwis can interact
online without suffering harm,” Minister Curran said.
Hence, the 2015
Cyber Security Strategy and Action Plan is going to be refreshed in close
collaboration with the private sector and citizens. The refresh will be led by
the National Cyber Policy Office (NCPO)
within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) and involve a wide
range of government agencies.
Progress on the 2015 Cyber
Security Strategy and Action Plan
The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet notes that
there has been good progress to improve New Zealand’s cyber security under the
Cyber Security Strategy and Action Plan approved by Cabinet in 2015.
This includes establishment of CERT NZ in April 2017, delivery of CORTEX
malware detection and disruption services, cyber security awareness campaigns,
the first Cyber Security Summit in May 2016, Protective Security Requirements
for government agencies, work to improve the cyber security of small
businesses, a focus on building a cyber security workforce, developing NZ
Police skills to respond to cybercrime and international engagement on cyber
On the international front, there has been particularly
close trans-Tasman cyber cooperation, with areas highlighted annually in the
Prime Ministers’ Joint Statements. New Zealand has held two cyber dialogues
with China and one each with India and Singapore. There have also been useful
cyber security discussions with Israel, the Netherlands and Japan. Regional
cyber security is pursued through the ASEAN Regional Forum and the ASEAN
Defence Ministers Meeting (Plus).
Scope of the refresh
The refresh of the Cyber Security Strategy and Action Plan
will require collaboration across a number of Ministerial portfolios. Minister
Curran is proposing to work closely with all of the relevant Ministries to determine
the priorities and initiatives to be incorporated in a refreshed Cyber Security
Strategy and Action Plan.
A successful refresh will also involve hand-in-hand
partnership with the private sector and non-government organisations to seek
their views on “what more the government can do to improve New Zealand’s cyber
The Minister is also proposing a refresh of the Digital
Strategy to consider ways to promote a more joined-up approach to cyber
security by government agencies, in cooperation with the private sector and
The refresh provides an opportunity to look at the cyber
security roles of agencies. The Government will continue assessing whether it has
the optimal arrangements and resources for effectively addressing cyber
security efforts across government. The State Services Commission will be
closely involved if any machinery of government issues arise in this context.
Work is underway to improve the system-wide understanding
and mitigation of cyber security risks to government agencies.
The Minister also plans to explore innovative models to
achieve strong cyber security collaboration between the government and the
private sector and non-government organisations. A structured approach to
ensuring private sector engagement with the government’s work (and vice versa) through
models such as advisory boards or a cyber security council, might be one option.
The refresh will assess whether NZ Police and other agencies
have sufficient resources and appropriately trained staff to protect New
Zealanders from online crimes and deal with the challenges of emerging
technologies. Since cybercrime is a transnational issue, the opportunity
provided by the refresh will also be used to explore whether NZ Police’s
existing international links are sufficient to deliver a comprehensive response
The current Action Plan proposed that New Zealand’s policy
and legislative framework should be tested to see whether it remains fit for
the purpose of dealing with cybercrime in the digital age. This action has yet
to be completed and it will remain part of the agenda.
Work is now underway – led by the National Cyber Policy
Office and Ministry of Justice – to outline what measures might be required to
bring New Zealand’s laws and investigative processes in line with the Council
of Europe Convention on Cybercrime (known as the Budapest Convention). The Cabinet
will consider whether New Zealand should formally express interest in accession
to the Convention, and the steps towards accession.
Cybersecurity industry, research and skills
In this area, the Minister plans to focus on expanding New
Zealand’s cyber security industry, investing in cyber security research and
development, and dealing with the shortage of skilled cyber security workers.
A strong domestic cyber security sector would lift the cyber
security of New Zealand’s businesses and enhance New Zealand’s reputation as a
stable, innovative and safe environment in which to invest, find business
partners, and do research and development.
According to the proposal, the refresh of the Cyber Security
Strategy and Action Plan should also advise on the role that government should
play in addressing the security challenges arising from the Internet of Things
and other emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence or Quantum
computing. should include an assessment of the extent to which such
technologies are empowering criminals and malicious actors.
The Refresh process
The NCPO will establish and chair a “Cyber Security Strategy
and Action Plan Refresh Working Group” (the Working Group) including
representatives from the following agencies amongst others: GCSB (Government Communications Security Bureau), CERT NZ, MFAT (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and
Trade), NZ Police, GCDO,
SSC and (State Services Commission).
This Working Group will engage with a broader range of other agencies.
The Working Group will work closely with government
agencies, the Chief Technology Officer, the Human Rights Commissioner, the
Privacy Commissioner, the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security,
non-government organisations and the private sector. Engagement with the
private sector and other stakeholders can occur through the Connect Smart partnership – a
community of practice to drive improved cyber security in New Zealand – and
more widely as needed.
The NCPO will provide a report to the Minister of Broadcasting,
Communications and Digital Media with recommendations for a revised Cyber
Security Strategy and Action Plan at the beginning of July 2018.
Governance will be provided by a “Cyber Security Strategy
and Action Plan Refresh Governance Group” to ensure the refresh is conducted in
a robust and effective manner, provide executive oversight and accountability;
and advise on strategic direction. The Governance Group will include senior
representatives from DPMC (Department
of the Prime Minister and Cabinet), GCSB, MBIE
(Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment), MFAT (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and
Trade), NZ Police, GCDO, SSC and other agencies as necessary.
The Minister will report back to the Cabinet External Relations
and Security Committee by 31 July 2018 with a revised Cyber Security Strategy
and Action Plan.
DPMC has released two documents relating to the refresh of New
Zealand’s Cyber Security Strategy and Action Plan. They can be accessed here.
Indonesia has agreed on a Joint Action Plan for Management System Synergy National Public Service Complaint (SP4N) – People’s Online Aspiration and Complaint Service (LAPOR!). The action plan provides an operational framework for each agency associated with the project, including the Ministry of State Apparatus Empowerment and Bureaucratic Reform (PANRB), the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Communication and Information (Kominfo), the Presidential Staff Office (KSP), and the Indonesian Ombudsman.
The government intends SP4N and the ‘LAPOR!’ application to be the primary avenue for people throughout Indonesia to express concerns and the foundation for improving the quality of public services.
“The goal of this joint action plan is for the five SP4N-‘LAPOR!’ management agencies to be able to carry out their duties and authorities under their respective roles in the future to achieve the targets that have been set,” Assistant Deputy for Digital Transformation of Public Services of the Ministry of PANRB Yanuar Ahmad explained after signing the SP4N-LAPOR Synergy Joint Action Plan! in Jakarta.
This action plan will serve as a technical guide to realising the targeted goals, the number of reports, the quality of follow-up, and the interoperability of agencies, as further discussed following the Roadmap SP4N-LAPOR!, which has been compiled in PANRB Ministerial Regulation No 46/2020.
This action plan is developed from the agreement and the Memorandum of Understanding on SP4N Synergy Using the LAPOR! Application. This initiative also intends to improve coordination across the ministries and agencies that have agreed in the MoU and PKS to collaborate on the strengthening and execution of SP4N-LAPOR!
Furthermore, this implementation plan increases efficiency and effectiveness in SP4N-‘LAPOR!’ management, particularly at the national structure level, in expediting bureaucratic reform and improving the public service quality. It should be noted that the PANRB Ministry’s six programmes are outlined in the action plan.
Institutional strengthening: organisation and governance, strengthening the SP4N coordination node (Hub), boosting HR capacity, institutional strengthening: monitoring and evaluation programmes and optimising the use of complaint information, streamlining IT: Integration, and strengthening communication and public involvement are among them. It is hoped that in the future, SP4N-‘LAPOR!’ will be the exclusive outlet for complaints about public services.
Anas also visited multiple regencies to boost local government performance with government apps and digitalisation: Government Agency Performance Accountability System (SAKIP). He reiterates that adopting SPBE will undoubtedly improve efficiency in various areas, including work speed, decision-making, policy formation, and the service process.
According to Minister Anas, the State Civil Apparatus (ASN) must be ready to adapt to the digital environment. Minister Anas stressed that digitalisation is the only way to improve governance and impact society. Citing President Joko Widodo, Anas emphasises that bureaucracy is not a pile of paper; it must be dynamic and have an impact. The actual work of bureaucrats must be quantifiable.
He urged the health sector to implement similar digitalisation initiatives to reduce the number of stunted children in Indonesia. According to President Joko Widodo’s directions, the frequency of stunting is expected to fall to 14 per cent in 2024, down from 21.6 per cent in 2022. It is likely to fall to 17.8 per cent in 2023 and 14 per cent in 2024.
Minister Anas also stated that the stunting reduction initiative is being hastened by adopting the Electronic-Based Government System, a digital plan (SPBE). SPBE is a government administration that provides services to government agencies, state civil servants (ASN), business people, communities, and other parties through information and communication technology. Currently, the districts/cities with the highest frequency of stunting have been mapped, and their SPBE maturity level has been connected to them.
He has also invited local government public malls (MPPs) to combine with digital services on several occasions (MPP Digital). He said that one of MPP Digital’s benefits is single-sign-on for all lines of public services. As a result, citizens can access resources across all services with a single user account.
South Australia has solidified its reputation as a world-class hub for the photonics industry, which is experiencing significant growth globally. This growth is being driven by the increasing demand for photonics technologies, including areas such as communication, healthcare, and energy.
The state of South Australia has a strong presence in the photonics industry, with many businesses operating in this field and contributing to the local economy. In the next five years, these businesses are expected to experience significant growth in revenue, reflecting the growing demand for photonics technologies and products. The success of the photonics industry in South Australia showcases the state’s commitment to innovation and its position as a leader in this field.
The report titled “Lighting a New Path: Global Opportunities for the Photonics Industry in South Australia” was commissioned by the South Australian Government and released in December 2022. It evaluates the advancements made in the photonics industry in the state over the past six years, since the development of the first photonics roadmap in 2016. The report provides insight into the progress made and serves as a reflection of the efforts and achievements of the South Australian government and the photonics industry.
Photonics is a field of science that deals with the study of light and its properties. Its innovations have found practical applications in a wide range of industries, including defence and space, healthcare and biotechnology, energy and mining, cutting-edge manufacturing, and agriculture.
These applications make use of the unique properties of light to create new technologies and solve complex problems in these industries. Photonics has the potential to significantly impact various aspects of modern life and shape the future.
The report highlights that South Australia has gained a competitive edge by concentrating on the branches of photonics that offer higher returns and lower competition. This focus has allowed the state to establish expertise in rapidly growing areas, such as quantum-related photonics research and development.
By doing so, South Australia has positioned itself at the forefront of these cutting-edge fields and has created unique opportunities for growth and innovation. The report emphasizes the significance of this strategy in fostering a strong and thriving photonics industry in South Australia.
According to the 2016 report, South Australia’s photonics industry was estimated to have an output of AU$ 200 million. However, within just six years, this figure has skyrocketed to AU$ 614 million. This impressive growth is reflected in the increase in the local photonics workforce, which grew from 800 jobs to approximately 1,500 jobs over the same period. These figures demonstrate the substantial progress made by the South Australian photonics industry and its continued expansion and success.
Co-Author Dr Alexis Mendez, the President of MCH Engineering, describes photonics as an enabling technology that has a broad range of applications and impacts a variety of industries. Photonics is a versatile and powerful technology that is used in many different fields, enabling new innovations and solutions to complex problems. According to Dr Mendez, photonics is a key driver of technological advancement and has the potential to transform numerous industries and areas.
Over the past six years, there has been a marked expansion in the ecosystem for optics and photonics in South Australia. This growth can be attributed to various factors, such as increased investment, the development of new technologies, and the growth of the local photonics industry.
As a result, the state has seen a significant increase in the number of businesses operating in this field, the growth of the local workforce, and the expansion of photonics-related research and development. These developments have created a supportive environment for the growth of the photonics industry in South Australia and have positioned the state as a leader in this field. The growth of the optics and photonics ecosystem has significant implications for the local economy and is poised to drive further innovation and progress in the years to come.
Dr Mendez stated that the team noted the development of new programs, facilities, and funds that have collectively improved the hi-tech infrastructure for SA entrepreneurs. This has led to the rapid growth of new commercial activity, particularly in the defence sector, while already established SA photonics-based businesses are beginning to re-engineer products and move into new markets.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-Madras) to collaborate on extended reality (XR) applications and other technologies for the Indian Human Spaceflight Programme.
According to a statement by IIT-Madras, the Institute will develop a training module for an Indian Spaceflight Programme using augmented reality/virtual reality/mixed reality (AR/VR/MR). Using the technologies created at IIT-Madras’ newly-established eXperiential Technology Innovation Centre (XTIC), the ISRO will promote research and development in the field of extended reality.
This XTIC is India’s first research and product innovation centre for XR and haptics technology, a transdisciplinary centre encompassing several fields of engineering, medicine, psychology, and arts. As XR is highly interdisciplinary, innovations in this field need a confluence of minds from different fields, the statement said.
While most of the research labs around the world are focusing on either software or hardware components of XR, the centre in IIT-Madras will focus on the fundamentals of XR- human factors, particularly perception and illusion, pioneering a new field of perceptual engineering and perceptual algebra.
ISRO developed the Indian Human Spaceflight Programme in 2007 to create the technology needed to launch crewed orbital spacecraft into low Earth orbit. M. Manivannan, Principle Investigator at XTIC-IIT Madras, stated that XR technologies have the potential to add value in many aspects of the human spaceflight programme specifically in shortening the design cycle and simulating the space environment. The team will start with developing models of physiological systems as well as design optimisation studies.
Apart from developing XR technologies for the human spaceflight programme, the XTIC will also carry out technology training for concerned Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC) engineers and help establish an XR/VR laboratory at HSFC. The statement outlined the key objectives of the collaboration:
- Modelling and simulating human physiology as well as space systems
- Outreach activities
- Visualisation and optimisation of design architecture
- Training ISRO scientists to develop their own XR systems
Furthermore, the XTIC has established a consortium of start-ups and industries in the field of XR and haptics in India called Cave. The ecosystem led by XTIC will be utilised for several applications ranging from outreach and education of the human spaceflight programme to digital twins.
In 2022, the global extended reality market size was valued at US$ 35 billion. It is expected to reach around US$ 345 billion by 2030. Countries around the world are making significant strides in the field. For instance, researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) have created the HaptGlove, a lightweight, untethered haptic glove for virtual environments. It provides a more realistic and authentic sense of touch and movement when interacting with virtual objects, enhancing the overall immersive experience in VR.
As OpenGov Asia reported, HaptGlove uses proprietary software developed by the NUS research team to achieve a visual-haptic delay of fewer than 20 milliseconds. This is faster than conventional haptic gloves and provides a near-real-time user experience. The latest prototype is also more comfortable to wear, weighing only 250 grams, much lighter than commercially available haptic gloves that weigh over 450 grams.
It enables users to interact with the virtual world in a more natural and realistic way, providing an unobtrusive and immersive experience in virtual reality. It features five pairs of haptic feedback modules, one for each finger, which are controlled wirelessly to sense the virtual object in terms of shape, size, and stiffness.
Thailand has begun discussions to develop a framework for its Digital ID initiative. The framework is required to tackle the private and public sector organisations’ difficulty in providing single Digital ID access without requiring multiple identity verification.
Digital ID (Digital ID), also known as digital identity verification and validation, is a tool that tells and confirms citizens’ identities without being forged. The citizen can acquire all online services with a single Digital ID, eliminating the need to register for duplicate identification verification. The programme attempts to make internet transactions more secure and dependable.
Thus, the Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA) sets the stage for the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society to invite six agencies to discuss the future of Thai Digital ID. The discussion on the ‘Framework for Driving Thailand’s Digital Identity Verification and Authentication Phase 1 2022 – 2024’ will clarify Thai Digital ID direction for all industries.
Revenue Department, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Digital Government Development Agency (Public Organization) (Por Por.) and Office of the Broadcasting Commission The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC Office) and National Digital ID Co., Ltd. (NDID) met to review and update the country’s future Digital ID direction under the function of each agency, as well as to have a common understanding of the programme.
Sanchai Techanimitwat, an information technology and information systems expert at the Department of Provincial Administration highlights the importance of completing Digital ID by 2023. The Department of Provincial Administration must expedite the readiness of Digital ID for online transactions using the D.DOPA application service.
The online transaction digital ID must be integrated with a digital face verification and authentication system or FVS (Face Verification Service) to improve authentication and verification quality. As a result, users no longer need to travel to the district office to dip-chip their ID card to receive Digital ID authentication. Instead, users can request or change information stored in the Department of Provincial Administration’s database, referred to as “self-service”, via the D.DOPA app. The Thai government will expand the use of Digital IDs to foreigners in the next phase.
D.DOPA can be used for various digital civil registration services, such as house registration. Copies and issues certifications for new home construction information. The government planned to expand the programme to include more than 31 other services, including potential for private service providers.
The Revenue Department will link Digital ID with the ‘Paotang’ online tax filing app. According to Chancharoen Thepsutha, Director of the Revenue Department’s Electronic Tax Administration Division, Digital ID will enable taxpayers to authenticate and validate the identity of various services they have familiar with. For instance, E-FILING service (e-filing), online tax payment, filing history, and tax submission. Following that, the agency is planning to expand the online tax filing service via the wallet app. In addition, it will also include ‘Online VAT registration’ for e-commerce businesses.
Digital ID facilitates online transactions. Increase online transaction security since users know who owns the transaction. It is crucial, particularly in banking and the capital market industry. Assistant Secretary-General for Digital Technology, Wiboon Pattarapibul, citing the Securities and Exchange Commission, states all transactions in the capital market industry today are legally binding. Digital ID is required to make investor transactions more convenient, trustworthy, and fast. Furthermore, ETDA’s requirements have been refined to be more appropriate for the government setting.
Chaichana Mitrphan, Director of ETDA, believes accelerating Thai people’s usage of digital IDs is essential. This is a critical challenge for ETDA in convincing consumers that their Digital IDs are secure. Another barrier is simplifying the registration process to improve citizen engagement.
Temasek Polytechnic and Neo4j, a leading graph database provider, have partnered to help the industry and students in Singapore stay ahead in the fast-changing world of technology. The collaboration aims to provide industry professionals and students with the necessary skills and knowledge to meet the demands of the digital age and remain relevant in their respective fields.
The partnership was formalised on 1 February 2023 through signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), designed to provide students at Temasek Polytechnic with hands-on experience using cutting-edge technologies and help the local industry stay ahead of the curve in an increasingly digital world.
“The reason we started this programme is really to fulfil the smart nation objectives. Moreover, we are seeing a big demand for graph technology in the industry. To ensure that the best skill sets are available locally and coming from an open-source mindset, collaboration is key,” explains Eng Pin Kwang, Director School of Informatics & IT of Temasek Polytechnic.
The partnership was officially launched in the presence of Mohit Sagar, CEO of OpenGov Asia, who highlighted the importance of staying ahead in the technology space and keeping up with the latest advancements.
He said, “The world of technology is constantly evolving, and it’s essential for individuals and organisations to upgrade their skills to remain relevant continuously. The partnership between Temasek Polytechnic and Neo4j is a step in the right direction, providing students and industry professionals with the tools and knowledge they need to succeed in the digital age.”
“While graph database technology as part of a curriculum has been implemented in Malaysia and Indonesia, this will be a first in Singapore,” said Daniel Ng, VP of Marketing, Neo4j.
In a previous OpenGov exclusive interview with Mohit Sagar, CEO & Editor-in-Chief of OpenGov Asia, Kesavan Nair, Neo4j’s VP of Global Cloud and Strategic Sales, explained the idea and workings of graph database technology.
Graph Database Technology is specifically built and optimised for discovering patterns and hidden linkages in massively interconnected datasets. Because it mirrors how the human brain thinks and maps associations utilising neurons (nodes) and synapses, graph database technology is effective because it discovers and displays relationships in the data.
A graph database effectively stores and queries data sets in a node-and-relationships model. As a result, graph technology performs very well where there needs to be background information on path length or shape by discovering neighbouring data effectively using graph storage and infrastructure.
Ryan Lim Beng Kee, Assistant Director of Capability & Industry Development, School of Informatics & IT, explained that they had formulated a three-year diploma programme to serve students’ best interests. The programme is not a one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter course but can be tweaked to suit individual learners’ pathways.
Cybersecurity, data analytics and graph technology are the most current high-demand talent in the market. More crucial, however, is to have cross-functional skills. Cross-cutting IT skills are more attractive to the market. “For example, a data scientist may not find a job specifically for the ‘data scientist’ role. But with a broader knowledge of data science in banking, pharmaceutical and/or gaming, the chances of them landing a role increases significantly,” said Nik Vora VP, APJ at Neo4j.
In addition to benefiting students, the partnership will also have a positive impact on the industry in Singapore. Neo4j’s technology will help companies and organisations to manage their data more efficiently, leading to better decision-making and increased productivity. The partnership will provide a platform for industry professionals to collaborate and share their knowledge, helping to create a more dynamic and innovative environment.
The partnership between Temasek Polytechnic and Neo4j is a testament to the importance of staying ahead in the technology space and the need to upgrade one’s skills continuously. It provides students and industry professionals with the tools and knowledge needed to succeed in a rapidly changing world and sets an example for other organisations.
“Today, there is an acute shortage (of certain technological skills), and I’m working on this collaboration to provide Singapore skills talent that knows how to apply the technology. So that’s why the building of skills in terms of having an objective of technology adoption is a key proponent critical,” Eng Pin Kwang concluded.
In conclusion, the partnership between Temasek Polytechnic and Neo4j is a positive step towards equipping individuals and organisations with the necessary skills and knowledge to remain relevant in a rapidly changing world of technology. With its cutting-edge technology and commitment to innovation, Neo4j is poised to play a vital role in shaping the future of data management and analysis in Singapore and beyond.
The Philippines introduced the National Privacy Commission (NPC) Registration System (NPCRS), which included simple tracking of enrolment requests/approval, a secure gateway for the monitoring unit to access registration data, and real-time insight into the validation of mandatory documents.
It will also enable accurate data collection from sectors and subsectors, reliable verification of active or inactive registration, retrieval of contact information for their data protection officer (DPO), and easy production of documents such as a registration certificate or analytical reports on registered entities.
“The registration system was designed and created with privacy, security, and operations in mind” (DevSecOps). Before making changes involving personal data processing and the system went live, Privacy Impact Assessments were performed throughout the planning,” Rainier Anthony Milanes, chief of the NPC’s Compliance and Monitoring Division, declared.
By facilitating online registration of data processing systems, the NPCS is considered to make compliance with the Data Privacy Act of 2012 easier for both government and private entities. He reiterated that the circular addresses problems when implementing previous circulars on common or numerous DPOs.
“It also contains new laws, such as the necessity to show the NPC mark of registration, which will offer data subjects the necessary assurance that companies processing their data have fulfilled the first level of DPA compliance,” Milanes explained.
It is being created concurrently with the completion of NPC Circular No. 2022-04, dated December 5, 2022, and headed registration of personal data processing systems, notification on automated decision-making or profiling, designation of DPO, and the NPC seal of registration. The circular went into effect on January 11.
Section 5 of the circular requires PICs or PIPs that employ 250 or more people, process sensitive personal information of 1,000 or more people, or process data that may likely jeopardise data subjects’ liberties to register all their data processing systems.
According to NPC Commissioner John Henry Naga, the NPCRS and the implementation of the Data Breach Notification Management System in April 2022 are part of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s marching order of digitalising government services.
The Philippines, on the other hand, expanded e-commerce regulation with the proposed Internet Transactions Act and planned to establish an electronic commerce (e-commerce) agency. Its objective is to regulate all business-to-business and business-to-consumer commercial transactions conducted over the internet, including those involving internet retail, online travel services, digital media providers, ride-hailing services, and digital financial services. The House of Representatives approved the bill’s final reading.
The role of the e-commerce bureau is to protect consumers and merchants who conduct internet transactions. The bureau will also represent the “central authority” regulating online trade and will function as a virtual one-stop shop for customer complaints about internet transactions. During the plenary session, the plan was advanced, with 245 members voting in favour of House Bill 4. There were no votes against the bill or abstentions.
As data value has expanded recently, several countries have updated their data protection bill. China has taken steps to design regulations that would promote the effective use and circulation of public, personal, and corporate data while adhering to rules and strengthening governance over data resources. It has also emphasised the significance of having a system that assures the secure and legal data flow over the border.
According to a National Development and Reform Commission official, the new laws are intended to encourage the lawful and efficient use of data to stimulate the real economy and allow people to share the benefits of the digital economy’s growth. According to the official, the proposed laws will enable the country to respond to the global technological revolution and industrial transformation while increasing its international competitiveness.
A research team led by Professor Chan Ting-fung, Associate Professor from the School of Life Sciences at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), has developed a new computational method called LAFITE (Low-abundance Aware Full-length Isoform clusTEr).
The technology has been successful in identifying thousands of low-abundance full-length RNA transcripts in lung adenocarcinoma cell lines that were previously unknown using existing technologies. This is a breakthrough in the field of lung cancer research and has the potential to lead to new treatments and a better understanding of the disease.
About low-abundance RNA transcripts
In an organism, different tissues have the same genome but their transcriptomes, the composition of expressed RNA transcripts, vary significantly. Previous research found that the majority of expressed transcripts are present at low levels, referred to as “low abundance”, but they play crucial roles in regulating various biological processes such as metabolism and cancer progression.
Restrictions of current RNA sequencing technologies
RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) is widely used in biology and clinical studies but has limitations in identifying low-expression or full-length transcripts. RNA-seq fragments and amplifies RNA molecules to improve detection of high-copy, short-length transcripts, but low-copy, low-expression full-length transcripts are challenging to identify.
Higher eukaryotes, including humans, can produce multiple transcript isoforms from the same gene through RNA splicing. However, RNA-seq cannot clearly identify individual transcript isoforms. As a result, current transcriptome research mainly focuses on gene levels and not transcript levels, leading to the overlook of many low-expression transcripts.
The Oxford Nanopore Technologies third-generation sequencing technique can capture native RNA transcripts and has improved ability to identify low-abundance, full-length transcript isoforms. However, the Nanopore DRS data used in this approach has significant noise and intrinsic errors, reducing its accuracy.
To address these limitations, Professor Chan Ting-fung and his team developed LAFITE, a new computational method specifically designed to process Nanopore DRS data and identify full-length isoforms. LAFITE surpasses all existing methods with its higher sensitivity in detecting low-abundance RNA transcripts.
Lung adenocarcinoma is the leading cause of cancer death in Hong Kong and has a lower five-year survival rate compared to other major cancers globally, according to the National Cancer Institute. While the causes of lung adenocarcinoma are complex, many studies have shown that changes in transcriptomes play a significant role in its progression.
The research team used LAFITE to analyze Nanopore DRS data from four lung adenocarcinoma cell lines. They successfully identified a new low-abundance RNA transcript isoform from the cancer gene AKT1 and showed its functional role in lung cancer cell lines, which was linked to patient survival and promoted tumour cell migration in lung adenocarcinoma.
Applicability to other cancers
With LAFITE, the research team discovered thousands of previously missed low-abundance transcripts, creating a complete transcriptome of lung adenocarcinoma. This will be a valuable resource for researchers to understand the mechanism behind the formation, migration, and progression of lung cancer. The team believes that LAFITE can be used for other types of cancer, such as colorectal cancer, and in studies on cancer cell drug resistance for drug development.
According to Professor Chan Ting-fung, a complete characterization of transcript isoforms of individual genes may provide new insight into their biological functions. LAFITE allows researchers to reassess gene function by identifying all expressed transcripts in a comprehensive manner, emphasizing the importance of transcript-level analysis in transcriptomic studies.