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Singapore Builds Vibrant and Secure Digital Future

The Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) outlined plans to build a Digitally Secure, Economically Vibrant, and Socially Stable Singapore in its Committee of Supply (COS) speeches delivered in Parliament today. Acknowledging how Digitalisation is shaping the way we live, learn, work and play, the Ministry’s plans focus on empowering Singaporeans to seize the opportunities of going digital while protecting their safety and security in the digital space.

As we embrace technology for growth opportunities, it is critical to address rapidly evolving digital threats, especially those which affect vulnerable groups such as children, women and seniors, and businesses.

– Josephine Teo, Minister for Communications and Information

To safeguard Singaporeans online, Minister Teo announced plans to introduce legislative measures to keep online spaces safe, enhance data protection for consumers and businesses, as well as strengthen the security and resilience of digital infrastructure and services. In addition, Minister Teo announced a new Alternative Dispute Resolution scheme which will provide an affordable and effective dispute resolution alternative for consumers and small businesses facing contractual disputes with telecommunication and media services providers. The scheme will be launched in April 2022.

To support local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in building their digital security, Minister of State (MOS) for Communications and Information Mr Tan Kiat How announced the launch of the new Data Protection Essentials programme which will be available from 1 April 2022 to help businesses protect their consumer data and enable them to recover quickly from a data breach. Businesses that have good cybersecurity practices will also be recognised through the Cyber Trust Mark and Cyber Essentials Mark which will be launched end-March 2022.

Urging SMEs to capitalise on the momentum for digitalisation, which accelerated across the economy during the Covid-19 pandemic, MOS Tan reinforced the Government’s commitment to supporting businesses as they digitally transform and internationalise. More support will be extended to SMEs, such as through the Advanced Digital Solutions scheme which will provide more AI-enabled and cloud-based integrated solutions. The Government will also introduce a broader suite of e-commerce platforms under the Grow Digital scheme, to help SMEs access international markets without a need for physical presence overseas.

MOS Tan further emphasised the importance of Government partnerships with the industry and Institutes of Higher Learning, to pave the way for more Singaporeans to access jobs and opportunities in the Digital Economy. A new degree programme (Bachelor of Science with Honours in Applied Computing, with a specialisation in FinTech) will also be offered at the Singapore Institute of Technology to prepare a core of Singaporean talents for more specialised roles in the tech ecosystem.

Senior Minister of State (SMS) for Communications and Information Dr Janil Puthucheary emphasised the importance of building up digital infrastructure and pushing technological boundaries to meet Singapore’s future needs. He announced that the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and the Economic Development Board (EDB) will pilot a Call for Application to construct data centres that prioritise energy efficiency and decarbonisation, in line with the Government’s commitment to the sustainable development of the data centre sector.

SMS Janil also outlined Singapore’s approach towards forging a secure and vibrant global Digital Economy together with international partners. He highlighted that Singapore had signed Digital Economy Agreements (DEAs) with four countries to date.SMS Janil added that Singapore’s focus on developing cybersecurity standards to foster trusted and secured use of technology and devices have also garnered interest among international partners.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, Singapore and the United Kingdom will work more closely to facilitate digital trade between the countries by signing three Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) in the areas of Digital Trade Facilitation, Digital Identities and Cybersecurity. The partnership will make digital transactions by businesses easier, safer and cheaper.

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