In response to the country’s recent cyber security issues, a New Zealand cloud computing platform provider has launched a new security service based on a blueprint developed in collaboration with the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) to assist government agencies to protect themselves. The service aims to ensure that agencies are always compliant with all security controls.
“Any organisation that participates in the digital world must take steps to ensure that they do so in a safe and secure manner for their employees and customers,” said the country manager for the public sector.
The platform’s New Zealand country manager for the public sector said that the New Zealand Information Security Manual (NZISM) Conformance Pack would assist government agencies and New Zealand organisations in assessing the compliance of their platform’s cloud environments against more than 150 NZ Information Security Manual controls. According to him, this enabled all customers to make compliance a “continuous activity.”
Customers were strengthening their cyber security postures by shifting from point-in-time compliance to continuous assurance. To assist customers in making compliance a continuous activity, the New Zealand Information Security Manual (NZISM) Conformance Pack displayed the real-time status of their environment in a user-friendly dashboard-style report.
Several public sector agencies were engaged in developing the NZISM Conformance Pack, which was accompanied by a comprehensive training and support programme, he said. “Our world-class core infrastructure is designed to meet the security needs of governments, global banks, and other high-sensitivity organisations,” he said.
In May, the cloud company launched a security and privacy knowledge hub for customers in New Zealand and Australia to help them build knowledge, capability, and security skills by providing local information, expert advice, and practical resources. This was part of the company’s commitment to invest in education and initiatives that help customers, partners, and industry build skills to fully realise the cloud’s potential.
Recently, thousands of New Zealanders’ work was disrupted when their internet connection went down due to a cyber-attack on a major internet provider. Just after 1 pm the afternoon, an internet infrastructure provider – which operates a few other New Zealand Fibre internet connections – was hit with a DDoS attack, which then knocked its internet down for about 30 minutes. Reports from affected users came in from all over the country, but the majority came from the North Island, which included Auckland, Hamilton, and Wellington. The company confirmed the issue was caused by a DDoS attack in a statement on its website.
OpenGov Asia had also reported that the Home and Community department and the housing ministry are on the approach of implementing zero-trust security in the government of New Zealand. After COVID-19 transformed the risk profile of the company, it rapidly introduced laptops and remote access for its employees and led the Home and Community department as a member of the Government Information Security Forum. Zero trust does not replace perimeter safety but works on the presumption that an infringement has taken place. Under the model, system access requests are treated as if they came from an open network on a “never trust, always verify” basis.
Sophisticated intelligence and analytics are then deployed to detect and respond to anomalies in real-time. The Data Protection Officer, the Information Manager and the cyber security / IT security manager of the Home and Community department worked closely together to protect information that can be personally identified. In its 2022 financial year, the agency also had 21 projects under its programme, while the Home and Community Department reported to the Social Services Parliament and the community selection committee in June.
The trial Mobile Money service approved by the Prime Minister will set a precedent for applying a “sandbox” scheme for new services and professions in the digital society. Sandbox is a controlled institutional framework applied to new technologies, products, services, and business models. It is an environment for technology firms to try their new technological apps and business models. After the trial period, management agencies will review the trial implementation and then accept or reject it.
Using laws to set rules to deal with new issues arising from the application of new technologies is a challenge. As per a press release, the apps may have a rapid impact on society that management systems may not be able to keep up with. Many traditional business fields have changed, and businesses have to utilise technology to work more effectively. It is impossible to manage new services and business models within the existing framework because policies tend to lag behind practices. Therefore, a sandbox model is more advantageous.
According to an industry expert, it is impossible to demand state management agencies to create policies for the future. Many countries apply sandbox policies to encourage enterprises to develop new business models, with certain limitations in deployment. The Prime Minister has put into effect the pilot implementation of Mobile Money services – making payments for small-value goods and services with telecom accounts. The pilot programme will last two years.
This is the first service that the government has applied the sandbox mechanism managed by several ministries and branches. The government hopes the service will contribute to the development of non-cash payments, and promote the access and use of financial services, especially in rural areas. Businesses can only provide Mobile Money to remit money and make payments for legal goods and services in Vietnam in accordance with current laws. Mobile Money is only applied to domestic transactions with a monthly transaction value limit of VND10 million (US$4,397).
Vietnam is not the first country that has accepted a new technology platform, but experts said that it has an advantage by learning lessons from predecessors. In Vietnam, the proportion of credit card users is still low, but mobile subscriber density is very high. 99% of transactions with a small value of below VND100,000 (US$4) are carried out in cash. Mobile Money will be a strong solution to promote non-cash payments in society.
The Minister of Information and Communications stated that Mobile Money is a convincing example that shows that telecom carriers can become platforms for many things, not only telecom infrastructure. They can become platforms for data, computing, digital content, authentication, IT services, and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Mobile Money is expected to help Vietnam become a digital society. The project is the first sandbox involving many ministries and sectors to be piloted to meet the needs of society. It will pave the way for more sandboxes to be applied to other new services and business models in the future. He added that Mobile Money is a great opportunity for mobile network operators to build an ecosystem to accelerate digital transformation.
The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said it is accelerating the implementation of the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) or the national ID programme to enhance the government’s ability to deliver various social services. NEDA chair said that more than 42 million Filipinos had registered as of September for step 1 or collection of demographic data. Notwithstanding the quarantines, he said nearly 30 million took the second step to supply their biometrics in the registration centres.
OpenGov Asia reported that the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) expects the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) to register 50 to 70 million people for the national digital ID by the end of the year. It is noted that as of July 2, 37.2 million people had completed Step 1, which involves the collection of demographic information, and 16.2 million had completed Step 2, which involves the capture of biometrics at designated registration centres.
The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is challenging, but the Philippines has a solid foundation to recover at the right time. Reforms such as Rice Tariffication Law and the National ID are helping us restore our development trajectory and enabling the people, especially the poor, to access affordable food and better social services.
– NEDA Chairperson
Speaking on the progress being made by the digital ID project, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary at NEDA said: “The COVID-19 crisis underscores the need to provide unhampered access to banking and social services for all Filipinos, especially the poor. Therefore, the President gave the directive to accelerate the implementation of the Philippine Identification System or PhilSys to provide all Filipinos with a unique and digitalised ID.”
He underlined that the Filipinos, particularly the poor, would be able to open bank accounts where cash transfers can be received directly. “We aim to register at least 50 million Filipinos by the end of this year,” he said.
The pandemic gave new promptness and highlighted the primacy of financial integration into government crisis containment and rehabilitation efforts. It showed the vital role of financial inclusion in social welfare and protection, as the transaction accounts became a necessary means to receive government cash support from the poorest and most vulnerable in the country.
As per NEDA’s Chairperson, PhilSys would also facilitate financial inclusion by providing every Filipino with a valid proof of identity, which is required for low-income earners to open bank accounts, receive cash transfers, and access other financial services.
Meanwhile, the Philippines’ state-run bank said it has signed up 5.3 million unbanked PhilSys registrants for their own transaction accounts via account opening booths at select PhilSys co-location areas nationwide. The registrants have already used their prepaid cards for a total of P31.8 million in transactions.
The PhilSys registrants can use the Landbank prepaid cards to manage funds, withdraw cash, perform cashless transactions, shop and pay bills online, and receive government subsidies digitally. As per the president and CEO of the Philippines bank, bringing unbanked Filipinos into the financial mainstream lays the groundwork for inclusive growth, particularly as we accelerate initiatives toward economic recovery and sustained development. Access to formal banking services motivates people to save money, repay loans, invest in financial products, and achieve financial independence.
Unbanked PhilSys registrants may access bank transaction accounts after completing the PhilSys Step 2 registration process, which includes validating supporting documents and capturing biometrics data. PhilSys registrants can also activate their bank prepaid cards and conduct transactions through the bank’s mobile branches, which are located in communities across the country where banking services are disrupted or limited.
The bank’s mobile branch is intended to serve unbanked and underserved communities as well as areas affected by disasters, calamities, and other disruptive events, as part of the bank’s increased efforts to promote greater financial inclusion in the community.
Air New Zealand and a leading aircraft manufacturer have announced a joint initiative to research how hydrogen-powered aircraft could be integrated into the fleet by 2030. The two organisations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate on a joint research project to better understand the opportunities and challenges of flying zero-emission hydrogen aircraft in New Zealand – a first for the Asia-Pacific region.
Under the terms of the agreement, Air New Zealand will assess the impact of hydrogen aircraft on its network, operations, and infrastructure, while the manufacturer will provide hydrogen aircraft performance requirements and ground operations characteristics to assist Air New Zealand in developing its decarbonisation roadmap. The MoU, as per the Air New Zealand CEO, is an exciting step toward understanding how hydrogen-powered aircraft could become a reality in New Zealand.
This agreement with Air New Zealand will provide us with important insights about how we could put a zero-emission aircraft into service. The joint study will enable us to gain invaluable feedback on what airlines will expect and their preferences in terms of configuration and performance.
– Air New Zealand, Chief Operational Integrity and Safety Officer
New Zealand has a unique opportunity to be a world leader in the adoption of zero-emissions aircraft, given the country’s commitment to renewable energy which can be used to generate green hydrogen and our highly connected regional air network. It was felt that the \agreement brings the nation closer to seeing low carbon solutions in place for our shorter domestic and regional flights in the next decade.
At this stage, it has been confirmed, that both hydrogen and battery electric aircraft are still viable as potential options for shorter domestic flights along with Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) for long haul operations. It is hoped that the research will help to inform future decision making as the company works towards net zero emissions by 2050.
OpenGov Asia reported in an article that New Zealand’s Climate Change Commission was established as a result of the Climate Change Response (Zero-Carbon) Amendment Act to advise the New Zealand Government on actions that will reduce carbon emissions and help the country meet its 2050 net-zero and low-emissions goals. The Climate Change Commission opened submissions in February this year to draught the advice, and among the submitters were both of New Zealand’s airlines, who support the move toward decarbonisation.
Wellington and Blenheim are preparing to ‘electrify their airports,’ laying the groundwork for commercial electric flights. Three twenty-seat electric passenger aircraft have been ordered by the regional airline. With the delivery of these planes not expected until 2026, there is still much work to be done to ensure that the necessary chargers are in place in time for the handover.
The Chief Commercial Officer for Wellington Airport said the travel hub is committed to assisting the airline to make history in getting the runway ready to handle the demands of electric aircraft. He felt that the Wellington to Blenheim route was an excellent candidate for the new technology as it has a 30-minute sector length matching the capability of carbon zero aircraft. The chairman of the airline says the news brings the company closer to its ambition to be the first airline in the world to achieve a fully electric fleet.
Air New Zealand Chief Operational Integrity and Safety Officer Captain also acknowledged that the MoU provides an opportunity for the airline to participate in the design and definition of how a hydrogen-powered aircraft might fit into its operations. They plan to work closely with the global manufacturer to better understand opportunities and challenges, including achievable flying range and what ground infrastructure or logistics changes may be required to implement this technology in the country.
Implementing the government’s Resolution 78, which was released earlier in July, the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) and the Ministry of Health (MoH) have agreed to deploy an electronic medical declaration platform and check people’s information management with QR codes. Every citizen will be granted a personal QR code for all anti-pandemic apps and platforms.
Earlier in August, at a meeting with the Ministry of Public Security, MoH, and MIC, MIC said it had begun building the platform on managing and granting QR codes, which will be used for all anti-pandemic platforms and apps (QRQG Platform). The ministries discussed the usage of software to watch the movement of citizens in pandemic zones and manage vaccinations based on the national population database.
According to a press release, MIC on 11 September released a decision on guidance on the technical requirements for the personal QR code display module on anti-pandemic platforms and apps (version 1.1). The document stipulates technical requirements for the personal QR code display module and guides the granting and use of personal QR codes on platforms and apps. Each personal code can be used to read and trace relevant data to serve COVID-19 prevention and control.
The platforms and apps must satisfy the requirements shown in the document. They also have to comply with Regulation 733 dated 13 May 2020 of the National Steering Committee on COVID Prevention and Control on medical record management declared by people on software. It is expected that cities and provinces will loosen the lockdown and put some parts of the society back to a new normal. To keep the situation stable, the application of technological solutions, including QR code scanning, will be at the core.
People going to public places will have to scan their QR codes. Offices, businesses, shops, and service providing points, when reopening, must ensure entry/exit supervision with QR code scanning. The MIC’s guidance to display and use one personal QR code for all platforms and apps will create favourable conditions for every citizen and organization when implementing operations to prevent and control COVID-19. A representative of the Technological Centre for COVID-19 Prevention and Control said the platform to manage and grant personal QR codes is ready, but more time is needed for the apps to connect and synchronise data.
The same organisation had earlier launched the Help Me! Project to connect IT engineers and over 150 volunteers in Vietnam and around the world to support Vietnamese people affected by the pandemic. The project not only responds to people’s need for prompt support and advice but also pioneers applying technology to connect people who can help with those who need help, OpenGov Asia had reported. The volunteers can provide support around the clock. Bringing into full play the time and expertise of consulting volunteers across Vietnam will significantly reduce the load on the national health system in general, as well as medical facilities in pandemic-hit areas, in particular. The project is still calling on volunteers who are doctors, medical professionals of all specialities and ages across the country to join its work.
According to the Vietnam: Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) Report 2020 released by the Ministry of Science and Technology and the World Bank, Vietnam’s strategy regarding the development of STI initiatives should focus on the diffusion and adoption of new technologies in companies. Not just research and invention, but for significant productivity and economic gains.
Areas that require improvement
In comparison with its structural peers and neighbouring countries, Vietnam’sinnovation capacity needs improvement. According to the Global Competitiveness Index 2017-2018, Vietnam ranks 55th out of 137 countries, behind Singapore (3rd), Malaysia (23rd), China (27th), and Indonesia (36th). It comes in just above the Philippines (56th). While the country has successfully expanded and diversified its exports, structural change towards high-technology and more knowledge-intensive production has been comparatively slow.
According to the report, Vietnamese firms showed a lower innovation level than what is expected for the country’s level of development, particularly in terms of product or process innovation. Vietnamese firms innovate more than those in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Turkey but less than those in China, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, and the Philippines. Domestic firms trail behind their peers on radical product innovation. Fewer firms in Vietnam (53% of product innovators) report their main innovation to be new to their market, compared to Malaysia (75%), the Philippines (62%), and Thailand (86%).
A similar pattern could be observed among firms in the manufacturing sector, one of the country’s most important economic pillars. In a recent survey conducted by the National Agency for Science and Technology Information (NASATI) only 49% of firms reported innovating in terms of product or process. While larger and joint-venture firms in Vietnam are more likely to undertake product innovation than are smaller and domestic firms, they are no more likely to undertake radical product (new to the market) or process innovation. On balance, firms operating in the services sector are less likely to undertake innovation compared to firms in the manufacturing sector.
As Vietnam seeks to reach high-income status by 2035, global trends in automation, export concentration present new opportunities and challenges for the country’s export-led manufacturing growth model. With the rapid development of technology and automation, Vietnam’s major manufacturing and export sectors (often characterised as labour-intensive) could be disadvantageous.
To address these issues, the report has made a number of recommendations for the country’s policymakers and enterprises, including a strong focus on the adoption of new technologies in firms, especially in small-to-medium-sized ones. The government must play an active role in the promotion of technology and innovation and in encouraging innovative ventures and finance through a simplified and streamlined process of granting firms support.
Companies must find ways to attract skilled workers, especially Vietnamese workers from abroad. They should improve managerial skills for innovation through business associations networks. Also, a number of long-term solutions include more robust public-private sector collaboration. The country should increase the allocation of resources to instruments that facilitate technology adoption and strengthen the capacity of the Intellectual Property Rights protection system to enforce patent protection copyrights and industrial property rights.
The pandemic has had a significant impact on healthcare systems’ ability to continue providing essential health services. While health systems around the world face increased demand for COVID-19 patient care, it is critical to maintaining preventive and curative services, particularly for the most vulnerable populations, such as children, the elderly, people living with chronic conditions, minorities, and people with disabilities.
Countries must strike an optimal balance between combating the COVID-19 pandemic and maintaining essential health services. The WHO organisation has been coordinating efforts across several regions and departments to assist countries in implementing targeted actions to reorganise and sustain access to safe and high-quality essential health services throughout the life course.
The coronavirus pandemic has also brought to light flaws in the current system. While New Zealand’s response to Covid-19 has been lauded internationally, there were concerns in the country that the country’s fragmented health system and associated bureaucracy would impede the rollout of mass testing, mass vaccinations, or the distribution of resources to care for Covid patients.
New Zealand’s healthcare reform has disclosed a system to ensure more equitable healthcare for all New Zealanders. The country’s 20 district health boards will be disbanded and replaced by a new national system that will place a greater emphasis on primary healthcare, end the postcode lottery system of health services, and reduce bureaucracy so that healthcare workers can focus on patients.
The health minister unveiled a framework for Health System Indicators to supplement the reforms. This framework will assist the sector is focusing on the areas that require the most improvement, particularly in the Mori and Pacific zones of New Zealand.
“The indicators are a new way of thinking. They are not about incentivising with funding or pointing the finger if targets are not met. They are a measure of how well our health system is functioning across the country, and an opportunity to then create local solutions to address local health needs” Andrew Little explained.
The indicators are based on the Government’s six priorities for health which are:
- Improving child wellbeing
- improving mental wellbeing
- Improving wellbeing through preventative measures
- Creating a strong and equitable public health system
- Better primary healthcare
- The financially sustainable health system
Indicators have been developed, and progress toward meeting them will be reported publicly every three months. When the indicators imply a problem, health services will collaborate with local communities to devise effective solutions. The indicators are intended to replace the ineffective and outmoded National Health Targets regime.
OpenGov Asia reported that investment in digital technology research for issues such as disease monitoring should be a top priority for Aotearoa. The covid pandemic has called into question how public decision-makers handle a health crisis, and he has stated that New Zealand Health IT fully supports today’s government announcement of the latest funding for health research through the Health Research Council of New Zealand.
The council is responsible for managing the government’s investment in health research. “Digital health represents an opportunity for significant improvements in healthcare to deliver better health and enable more efficient and accessible service delivery models,” He then added
It has also been stated that research into health data science is an important tool for improving care systems and developing new products. Digital tool research in the health sector will also provide health consumers with new ways to improve their overall health and well-being. “We know digital health technologies will strengthen health systems and help meet the increasing demand for healthcare services.” New Zealand needs to buy into digital tools for managing health crises, such as the covid pandemic.
The President of Taiwan said that no stone is being left unturned in strengthening Taiwan’s cybersecurity industry in line with the goals and objectives of the government’s five-plus-two innovative industries plan. Cybersecurity is one of the most important of the six core strategic industries founded on the plan. This is evidenced by strong legislative support in the form of amendments to the National Security Act in 2019 and the passage of the Cybersecurity Management Act in 2018.
The number of cyberattacks is on the rise in Taiwan as malevolent actors seek to take advantage of an open internet and liberal social media environment. Left unchecked, the attempted theft of business-related data and intellectual property poses a threat to Taiwan’s freedom and democracy.
The government is responding to this challenge by integrating the development of cybersecurity, information and communication technology, the internet and telecommunications. In addition, a data-driven active defence system aimed at bolstering the resilience and security of Taiwan’s critical infrastructure is in the pipeline.
Taiwan is promoting a partnership between Taiwan’s public and private sectors, as well as like-minded partners in the international community. By sharing information, it is possible to efficiently and swiftly strengthen the country’s digital defences.
According to a page, to actively promote national cyber security policy, accelerate the establishment of the national cyber security environment, and enhance national competitiveness. After National Information and Communication Security Taskforce (NICST) was established, the “National Center for Cyber Security Technology, NCCST” was set up. The organisation aims to support NICST to establish the cyber security protection mechanism and provide technical services to government agencies, including prior-incident security protection, during-incident early warning and responses, and post-incident recoveries and forensics.
Since the establishment of NICST, our country has proactively led the government agencies to strengthen cyber security protection, which has achieved preliminary results in these years. However, cyber security requires long-term dedication. The goal is to enhance the overall cyber security defence capabilities and achieve the vision of “A Safety and Resilient Smart Nation” through four strategies listed below:
- Attract high-level talents all over the world; cultivate independent power of research and innovation.
- Promote public-private-partnership governance; enhance the resilience of critical infrastructure.
- Utilise smart and forward-looking technologies; Proactively defend potential threats.
- Complete an intelligent and secure society; boost non-governmental protection capabilities.
In response to Taiwan’s unique political and economic situation and global cyber security threats, it is urgent and necessary to continuously promote and implement cyber security tasks to respond to external challenges. Therefore, Taiwan formally established the Department of Cyber (DCS) to promote an overall national cyber security protection mechanism from the Yuan level; and led the national cyber security missions comprehensively with a team of dedicated professionals and special task forces.
As reported by OpenGov Asia, cybersecurity holds a significant impact on national security, public interest, national life, or economic activities. Enhancing the national security protection capacity, strengthening the security, and fostering resilience of basic communication networks are necessary.
Regarding the economy, various industries should incorporate cybersecurity protection thinking to form the basis of the united defence of government agencies and private enterprises. Hence, the awareness of cybersecurity will be deeply rooted in the mindset. To gradually enhance Taiwan’s cybersecurity protection capabilities, NICST proposed the National Cyber Security Programme of Taiwan (NCSP) as the reference guide for promoting cybersecurity protection strategy and plan.
Taiwan’s national cybersecurity policy has undergone systematic development and gradually achieved the scheduled milestones to effectively reinforce the readiness of national cybersecurity. The objectives include the establishment of a safe environment of cybersecurity, the completion of cybersecurity protection management, sharing of multiple cybersecurity information, the expansion of the cultivation of cybersecurity talent, and the reinforcement of international cybersecurity exchanges.