After a gym in Singapore was found out to have CCTV cameras active in a ladies changing area, it sparked huge debate on privacy laws and personal data protection nationwide.
This week in Parliament, the Minister for Communications and Information was asked whether the Ministry has plans to better regulate the installation and access to CCTVs installed in public and private premises in the wake of the recent outcry of CCTVs in a private gym.
Minister for Communications and Information Mr Iswaran replied that The Police Licensing and Regulatory Department requires any person who provides CCTV installation or maintenance as a service to have a Security Service Provider licence under the Private Security Industry Act. These licensees must undergo security screening to ensure they are fit and proper persons to provide security services.
Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) includes personal data and details captured on CCTV
He also highlighted that under the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA), organisations are required to notify individuals of the purpose and obtain their consent to collect, use or disclose their personal data, including those captured by CCTV recordings. Also, organisations are required to protect personal data in their possession or control by making reasonable security arrangements.
The Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) has issued advisory guidelines to help organisations deploying CCTVs comply with the PDPA. The advisory guidelines provide examples of good practices, such as placing notices at points of entry to a building or prominent locations in a venue, where individuals are able to read the notices prior to the collection of their personal data by CCTVs.
Organisations that fail to notify or obtain consent on data collection will face penalties
Organisations that install CCTVs but fail to notify or obtain consent from an individual for the collection of personal data, or fail to protect such personal data, are liable for breaching the PDPA. The PDPC will investigate and take enforcement action for breaches, which include issuing directions and imposing financial penalties.
Australia and Singapore yesterday signed a Digital Economy Agreement (DEA) to harness digital transformation and technology to expand trade and economic ties in the region. Australia’s Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham and Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing signed the DEA digitally via videoconference.
The SADEA is the second Digital Economy Agreement that Singapore has signed, following the signing of the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA) with Chile and New Zealand in June this year.
At a time of global uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the signing of the DEA demonstrates Australia and Singapore’s recognition of the value of digital trade in forging a path to a post-COVID economic recovery.
Mr Chan said, “The signing of the Singapore-Australia Digital Economy Agreement marks a milestone in the long standing and multi-faceted partnership between our two countries. The SADEA will facilitate digitalisation of trade processes and make it easier and more cost effective for Singapore companies to engage in cross border business activities with Australia.
“As COVID-19 forces businesses to consider innovative ways to reach customers and adapt to a new way of doing business, agreements like the SADEA will allow our companies to take advantage of opportunities in the digital economy and tap on new technologies to create new digital products and services.”
Singapore and Australia enjoy strong bilateral trade and investment flows and the SADEA builds on this foundation to enhance economic opportunities in the digital realm. With the SADEA, Singapore and Australia aim to create a seamless digital trading environment which is crucial for businesses during this COVID-19 pandemic.
Enhancing economic opportunities in the digital realm
It will also enable trusted cross-border data flows without unnecessary and costly requirements such as data localisation, while protecting consumers’ privacy and businesses’ proprietary information.
Australia and Singapore have agreed to set new rules to prevent unnecessary restrictions on the transfer and location of data, improved protection for software source code, and ensure compatibility between e-invoicing and e-payment frameworks.
Importantly, the DEA will also feature rules for enhanced business and consumer trust in digital trade and cooperation in creating a safe online environment, and protecting personal information and consumer rights.
The Digital Economy Agreement is further supported by MoUs on data innovation, artificial intelligence, trade facilitation, e-invoicing, e-certification for agricultural exports and imports, personal data protection and digital identity
The signing today follows the conclusion of negotiations by Prime Ministers Scott Morrison and Lee Hsien Loong on 23 March 2020. The DEA will now undergo Australian treaty-making processes, including tabling in Parliament and consideration by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties prior to ratification. When the DEA enters into force it will amend the Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement to replace the existing Electronic Commerce chapter with a new Digital Economy chapter.
PHOTO CREDIT: dfat.gov.au
In collaboration with GOVTECH
You won’t be needing one of those coveted National Day Parade tickets to experience Singapore’s birthday celebrations this year.
A reimagined parade will see popular segments taking place in the heartlands, with digital channels enabling Singaporeans to be a part of festivities from the comfort of their homes.
On our end, the GovTech team has been busy building an interactive map – so that Singaporeans will be able to better enjoy Singapore’s 55th birthday bash from the comfort of their homes.
Here’s how to use it to have the best national day possible. Or at least in theory.
Highlight 1: Fireworks, tanks, and flying men – check out where they are!
No NDP is complete without the parade. This year, the showcase this year will be dispersed around Singapore. Some of these perennial crowd-pleasers are:
- Heartland Fireworks Display
- Red Lion’s Landing Zones
- SAF’s Mobile Column featuring everyone’s favourite military and civil defence vehicles
The NDP2020 Interactive Map will be updated with the position of these elements so that you won’t miss the tanks as they rumble by your home or the fireworks display if you live near one of these 10 locations. The elite Red Lions will also be parachuting into the heartlands, so check out if your neighbourhood is one of the landing sites.
That aside, there are also quite a few fringe activities unique to this year’s celebrations. Use the map to see what’s near you. Some of these include:
Heritage and Culture light up. 10 national monuments and arts and cultural institutions will be illuminated in red and white. Great for pictures!
Museum and Heritage Institution Open House Weekends. Great opportunity to take stock of how far we’ve come – and inspiration for ideas on how to move forward.
The Flag of Unity. A massive display of over 10,000 Singapore flags. This one’s at Siloso beach, so technically, you won’t need our map for it. 😂
You can also post your birthday wish for Singapore on the map on 9th August 2020 (all the way till 10pm) and be part of the collective celebrations all over the country.
Highlight 2: Get your discounts
Every Singaporean loves a good bargain, and this year’s NDP discount booklet – featuring over 100 discounts – is going fully digital so there’s no more misplacing those coupons!
Choose discounts from a wide variety of categories such as food & beverages, grocery shopping, and local attractions like the Singapore Zoo and Sentosa.
(For those of you who have our Moments of Life app, you can also access the discount list there)
Highlight 3: Connect with fellow Singaporeans through your stories
2020 has been a year of unprecedented challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. A major component of this year’s NDP will capture the voices of Singaporeans coming together to overcome this hurdle.
Share your reflections on the impact these few months have had and express your thanks to the frontline and essential workers who are keeping Singapore ticking during these extraordinary times. These stories and messages of gratitude can be shared on Facebook or Instagram by using the #OurHeartForSG hashtag and tagging the NDPeeps accounts, or through the Our Heart For SG website.
Highlight 4: Get featured on the parade’s social media!
Your contribution doesn’t have to be in the form of words or photos. Break out your singing voice and record your rendition of any NDP song or even an original composition. Your entry just might be shared on the NDPeeps YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram pages.
If singing is not your thing, there’s also the Fly Our Flag video that will be played on August 9. To take part, follow the steps in this TikTok video to record your birthday wishes to Singapore.
Painting the HDB towns red (and white)
We know what you’re thinking: All these high-tech wizardry can’t make up for the fact that there’s no large-scale, mass gathering – the only way we’ve been doing NDP so far.
Well, we used to think the same about work and offices too. But one of the things we’ve learnt from this Covid-19 episode is that for many jobs, working from home can be as productive or even more so.
So give this digital-and-physical hybrid of an NDP to shine.
Who knows, we may have discovered a whole new way to party.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the National Research Foundation (NRF) and the National University of Singapore (NUS) announced in a press release on 4th August 2020 that they will be setting up a research institute to develop deep capabilities supporting the demands of digital financial services in Asia.
The Asian Institute of Digital Finance (AIDF) will provide thought leadership and strengthen the ties between education, research and entrepreneurship in digital finance. The Institute aims to be running by the end of this year.
Professor Tan Eng Chye, NUS President, said, “FinTech is making a profound impact on financial services, and will continue to drive the transformation of the financial services industry in Singapore, which is an integral part of Singapore’s ambition to be a Smart Nation. NUS is deeply honoured to partner MAS and NRF to achieve the vision of AIDF – the first of its kind in Singapore and this region, which takes an integrative approach to education, research, innovation and business incubation. NUS’ thought leadership in digital technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, cloud computing, and data science makes us perfectly positioned to address the challenges of the digital economy in Singapore and other parts of the world.”
Asian Institute of Digital Finance to offer large range of FinTech subjects
Hosted at NUS, AIDF will offer a Master’s programme and award scholarships to top students to pursue research at the doctoral level, as well as train post-doctoral fellows in Digital Finance and FinTech. Through its education programme, the AIDF will build the FinTech leadership pipeline for Singapore and the wider region.
The AIDF faculty will bring together deep expertise in Finance, Technology and other disciplines that are critical to integrating financial services with technology. These include: Finance domain: Payments, Credit & Lending, Financial Advisory & Wealth, Management, Retail & Corporate banking and Financial Markets. Technology domains: Digital Architecture, Digital Platforms, Big Data, Distributed Technology, Tokenisation, Cloud Computing, UX/UI design, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.
Research will include AI, Machine learning and Next-Gen Financial Services
AIDF will pursue foundational and inter-disciplinary research projects covering fundamental digital infrastructure, performance optimisation of business processes, and advanced application development research on cyber, fraud and anti-money laundering challenges. The institute will also develop financial services to meet sustainability and
Potential areas of focus include: Digital Assets and Ledger Technology, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Digital Finance Platforms, Green Finance Technology and Next-Gen Financial Services on 5G networks.
Professor Low Teck Seng, NRF Chief Executive Officer, said: “AIDF will help build strong FinTech research capabilities in Singapore, and commercialise high-impact research ideas to deliver practical and innovative solutions for the market. It will leverage on NUS’ regional and global networks involving local and foreign universities and research institutes to generate and testbed FinTech solutions for the Asian markets. More importantly, AIDF will also groom next-generation FinTech leaders that will strengthen Singapore’s Smart Nation core.”
“Fincubator” programme will promote entrepreneurship
The regional research institute will also establish a unique “Fincubator” programme that will promote entrepreneurship and provide the support to drive transformation of ideas and projects by promising students and entrepreneurs into market-ready products and services.
Potential areas of focus include:Applied research for commercialisation, Incubation of financial solutions to solve unmet digital financial service needs of Asia, Industry collaboration to provide comprehensive mentorship to build marketready solutions and Strengthened linkages with investor community to spur research
Mr Ravi Menon, Managing Director, MAS, said, “AIDF will be an important addition to Singapore’s rich and vibrant FinTech ecosystem. Through applied research and active collaboration with industry, AIDF will help to build strong capabilities in digital finance and FinTech. Located in the heart of the fastest-growing digital finance market in the world, the Institute will facilitate the expansion of knowledge and skills among FinTech leaders in the region and support the digitalisation of economies in ASEAN and beyond.”
As Singapore prepares for the progressive opening up of their borders in the coming months, the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA), supported by the Home Team Science and Technology Agency (HTX), have announced in a release that they will be issuing electronic devices from 10 August 2020 to all returning Singapore Citizens, Singapore Permanent Residents and Long-Term Pass holders who will be serving their Stay-Home Notices (SHNs) at their residences or self-paid accommodation.
HTX has said that the electronic devices will help ICA enforce strict compliance with SHN requirements more effectively, and mitigate the risk of imported COVID-19 cases contributing to local transmission. Persons serving Stay Home Notices will be issued an electronic wristband, a gateway device and a user guide after their arrival at immigration clearance. Work Pass holders will be monitored by the Ministry of Manpower using a different monitoring device.
Easy-to-use Technology Aids Stay Home Notice Monitoring
The device needs to be activated once the person serving their Stay Home Notice reaches their place of residence or accommodation.
Activation is straightforward and easy. First step is to download the StayHome@SG application onto their mobile phone, then register their profile by providing the required information through the mobile application, in order to activate the wristband and gateway device.
They can then proceed to plug the gateway device into a power supply source and don the wristband for the entire 14-day SHN period.
During the SHN period, users are required to check their mobile application periodically for notifications from ICA, and acknowledge the notifications in a timely manner through the mobile application. Upon completion of the SHN, users will be informed either by ICA or via the StayHome@SG application to cut the wristband and uninstall the application from their mobile phone.
“We wanted a solution that offers ease of use to PSHNs, but also ensures users’ compliance to SHN. After weighing multiple technical and practical considerations for reliable, efficient and secure operations, we found this e-wristband, paired with an IoT gateway device, to be an effective, self-service solution,” said Deputy Director Seah Swee Leng from HTX’s Sense-making & Surveillance Centre of Expertise. He is part of the cross-departmental team, made up of officers from ICA and HTX that were tasked to source for and customise the solution.
How the Wearable Tech Works
This electronic wristband solution enables ICA to ensure that PSHNs comply with the SHN requirements. It comes equipped with sufficient battery life to last the entire 14-day SHN duration.
Electronic monitoring to ensure the PSHNs do not leave their place of residence/accommodation during the SHN period is done in the following ways:
Bluetooth Low Energy communication between the gateway device and the wristband will enable ICA to determine if the person is within acceptable range of the gateway device.The gateway device establishes its own connection to ICA, which is not dependent on external network access.
When the wristband is detected to be out of range of the gateway device, tampered with, cut or loosened; or when the gateway device is removed from the power supply – ICA will be alerted and will conduct follow-up investigations.
Data Protection is Maintained
All information sent from the wristband to the ICA’s servers is encrypted. At the end of the SHN period, all data collection pertaining to the PSHN will cease and the mobile application will be locked from further usage.
Information collected will be stored and secured in the government database. Data protection measures are in place to prevent data loss or theft, unauthorised access and undue disclosure.
PHOTO CREDIT: www.htx.gov.sg
The Government Technology Agency of Singapore – GovTech and Singapore bank DBS has partnered to pilot the use of the SingPass face verification technology with the aim of speeding up the digital banking registration process.
The face verification technology developed by GovTech enables Singaporean citizens and permanent residents to sign up for DBS’ digital banking services to activate their accounts by using a photo of themselves or in other words a ‘selfie’.
DBS Bank is the first in the private-sector to pilot the service, which is integrated into its digibank app.
In a release on 29 July 2020, DBS and Government Technology Agency of Singapore said the pilot programme aims to benefit more than 1 million DBS customers who are SingPass holders and do not use digital banking services.
“Amid one of the greatest disruptions ever witnessed in our time, we are more cognisant than ever about the importance of leveraging digital technology to quickly serve up solutions that benefit the wider public. In line with Singapore’s Smart Nation agenda, we have been introducing innovative digital solutions over the years that provide easier, more seamless ways to bank. Together with GovTech Singapore, we aim to support those who are journeying into digital banking for the first time, and to help foster resilient digital habits that will last for years to come,” said Jeremy Soo, Head of Consumer Banking Group (Singapore) at DBS Bank.
SingPass Face Verification’s launch, with DBS as its first use case, follows a successful trial earlier this month with over 100 seniors and students from ITE College West.
SingPass Face Verification to access bank services
Bank account holders can scan their faces on their phones to apply for an online banking account with the launch of a national facial identification service. The captured facial image will be matched against the national biometric database. Once the match is successful, DBS will send an SMS to the user’s register mobile number for verification.
This database contains the facial images and identities of four million local residents aged 15 years and above, captured through applications for passports and NRICs.
So far, the facial recognition technology has been limited to official purposes, including verification at border checkpoints and in some government buildings to limit access rights.
SingPass Face Verification takes the mobile service forward by matching the captured facial image against the Government’s biometric database. This step allows for greater ease of verifying high-risk online transactions.
Users reported facial verification to be more convenient as they do not need to remember their PIN or use their ATM, credit or debit card to complete the registration process.
SingPass Face Verification technology to sign up for other products and services in 2020
DBS customers will also be able to use the SingPass Face Verification technology to sign up for other products and services by the end of 2020.
The feature is also being piloted in view of significant consumer shifts towards digital services, coupled with the steady rise of mobile and smartphone usage among Singaporeans, where smartphone penetration is expected to reach 80 percent of the population by 2022.
By the end of 2019, the bank noted that the number of customers who had been conducting their banking needs solely via mobile on the bank’s mobile banking app, DBS digibank, almost doubled from 2017 to 2019.
Almost one million DBS customers today are independent digital banking users, which means that they are active on the bank’s digital banking platforms, and have gone more than a year without visiting a bank branch or calling the bank’s contact centre for assistance.
During Covid-19, more seniors have been turning to digital banking to meet their banking needs – the number of seniors who used digital banking in April and May 2020 more than tripled compared to the same period last year.
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore signed a memorandum of understanding with five international partners today, to develop and adopt common data standards and Application Programming Interface (API) specifications, which will facilitate data exchange for port and maritime services transactions.
The MoU was signed at the Maritime Perspectives Series Prologue: Digital Connectivity & Data Standards, the first webinar organised by MPA under the Maritime Perspectives series.
The series will consist of four webinars to be conducted from 28 July to 8 October 2020, will bring together experts and industry leaders to share insights on digitalisation, decarbonisation and trade in the new normal post COVID19.
Operating in the ‘new normal’ post COVID-19
Mr Niam said, “COVID-19 has exposed vulnerabilities in global supply chains on a scale never seen before. As the backbone of global trade, the maritime sector has to evolve to meet the challenges of a new normal economy. Digitalisation, decarbonisation and adaptation to new global trade order are issues that have to be addressed by the industry. We hope the Maritime Perspectives series will be a useful platform to gather insights on these issues, exchange ideas and pave the way for collaborative solutions”
The international partners are CargoSmart – solution provider for the Global Shipping Business Network, GTD Solutions representing TradeLens, GeTS and PSA International jointly representing CALISTA, and the Port of Rotterdam Authority.
The signing was witnessed by MPA’s Chairman, Mr Niam Chiang Meng and the International Maritime Organization (IMO)’s Secretary-General, Mr Kitack Lim.
Facilitating Global Maritime Interoperability
Mr Niam said, “The maritime sector is a global business. Different players in the maritime ecosystem are pursuing digitalisation at varying paces. To truly reap the benefits of effective information exchange, we need to move beyond digitising single nodes in the maritime supply chain. MPA and our partners have taken the first step with this MoU. We hope that more will join us in linking up ships, port authorities and platform providers into a seamless digitalOCEANSTM to facilitate port-to-ship connectivity and efficient trade transactions across the globe.”
The MoU to drive interoperability is timely as port authorities have developed or are developing maritime single windows to implement IMO’s Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic to facilitate the electronic exchange of information for port clearance.
This collaboration will also support MPA’s digital OCEANSTM initiative, where individual data platforms of port authorities, port operators, shipping lines, logistics companies and platform providers can exchange data and interoperate through a common set of APIs.
In its endeavour to explore and understand how governments around the world are tackling the pandemic, OpenGov Asia organised another Virtual Breakfast Insight.
The session was held on 24th July 2020 with public sector agencies in Singapore to understand how the have adapted to these unexpected times.
Singapore’s government has been driving the adoption of digital and smart technologies throughout the city state as a part of its Smart Nation initiative well before COVID-19 hit the world.
Keeping up with the trend of the series, the session saw a 100% from public sector executives in Singapore.
The session was opened by Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief, OpenGov Asia.
Mohit emphasised the critical role that governments are playing at this point and the enormous amount of data they are producing in this process.
In the digital era, data is unequivocally the new currency; so, it is very important to understand how this data is managed.
Apart from responding to the current situation and recovering from it, governments also have to plan for a secure future.
Mohit advised the audience to also look at the opportunity in crises and collaborate with partners who have a similar vison, who are adding value to their organisations.
After the opening, Remco den Heijer, Vice President, ASEAN, SAS, addressed the audience. He began by briefly introducing his organisation and its mission of improving lives by making better decisions.
Better decision making is done by providing organisations with software that helps manage their Data and Analytics.
Remco shared interesting examples of ways data and real time analytics stream helped governments and public to stay updated with the developments in the world during the last 4 months.
As per his observation, he felt that governments all around the world are tackling the COVID 19 pandemic in a phased approach that rested on 3 basic pillars:
He concluded by highlighting the vital role of Data and Analytics tools in helping governments reimagine the world post the pandemic and emerge stronger and better able to meet the needs of our citizens.
Joseph Musolino, Global Sales and Strategy Consultant, Fraud Security Intelligence, SAS then shared his insights.
He appreciated countries like Singapore that are at a relatively mature stage in their digital transformation journey. For these countries, adopting AI and Analytics is not the challenge. For them the challenge is to deploy it fast and make it more effective.
Joseph opined that the focus for these countries should now be to take AI and Analytics to enterprises and make it faster and easier to deploy.
He highlighted some of the areas where governments are currently deploying advance analytics to strengthen their delivery mechanisms.
They include – Customs, Pandemics, Medical, Taxation and Judicial systems.
In order to give the audience a detailed understanding of how exactly the theory plays out, he demonstrated real life situations where analytics helped government serve citizens better.
He concluded by informing the delegates about their new platform which is a step forward into the next-gen analytics.
After these rich insights, Jeanne Holm, Chief Data Officer and Senior Technology advisor to the mayor of City of Los Angeles took the virtual stage.
Jeanne shared first-hand account of how governments can use predictive data analytics during critical times and also for operations in general.
She explained that that the administration in LA is using advance analytics for two major purposes.
- observing data real time for city management
- predictive analytics that echoes with the before mentioned recovery and to reimagine the city
The LA mayor’s office uses integrated data sets from different sources to have an overall view and make better informed decisions.
Communication of this information to the people is also a major priority of the office and they utilise technology to enable that.
Jeanne shared some of the technology driven initiatives by the LA government that are serving people better during the pandemic hit and in the future. They are:
- Angeleno App: This app is a single way that allows people to access any city service and make e- payment for it.
- Shake Alert LA: This is a warning system that helps send out e- signals out quickly during an earthquake and also informs them of the magnitude and intensity of it.
- Augmented reality public parks games: that let LA residents, especially younger kids visit zoos and park virtually and learn from them while being safe.
- Predicting what we breath: This is a program that uses machine learning to understand urban air quality using satellite and ground data.
- Autonomous piloting on slow streets: This program enables safe autopiloting on certain streets that have less traffic. This is determined from real time satellite and ground data.
- Data Science federation: Open Data and Technology is a team sport. It is important that all the people in this eco system are working towards the same goals. This is exactly what this federation does, collaborates governments and educational institutions working on technology.
After Jeanne’s presentation the session took a more interactive form with the polling questions for the audience.
On the question of how the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way their department/agency functions, major part of the audience voted for “more reliant on social/communication technology” (42%).
On the next question of which of the capabilities will be most useful if a situation like COVID-19 occurred in the future, a majority of participants voted for “better understanding of critical operational processes and human capital required to keep government and healthcare operations running during the lockdown” (52%).
The session also featured a demonstration of a SAS knowledge management solution that stores and catalogues information about the analytical assets of an organisation.
This demonstration helped the audience better understand how easy and useful it is to actually use these applications and the ways in which it can make their functioning more effective.
To give a context to solution demonstration, Mohit put up few questions for the audience which brought out some interesting findings.
On the question of what the typical challenge in is starting a data science project, the audience were split between “lack of understanding on the available data asset” (31%) and “lack of collaborative environment to support team effort” (36%).
The chief data officer from a government agency reflected that technology is rarely an issue when it comes to implementing data science projects. The challenge is more to do with the organisation culture. Traditionally, people look at data as a mere record that needs to be stored. They do not understand that effective data management can help them solve several their routine problems.
There is an urgent need to make data literacy a part the organisation’s culture and make people realise the potential of data.
The session concluded with closing remarks by Joseph. He expressed gratitude to all the attendees and for them sharing their thoughts and experiences.
The well aligned content throughout the session will go a long way to encourage the delegates to utilise Data and Analytics in their workings.