In an unprecedented showcase, Western
Australia’s Muresk Institute has recently unveiled the state’s first public
demonstration SMART farm on 13 June.
According to a press release by the
Western Australia state government, the SMART farm integrates digital equipment
into conventional agricultural infrastructure and utilises cloud-based
technologies to help inform farmers and improve efficiency and decision-making.
By integrating digital equipment such as environmental
sensors and GPS into modern agriculture, the SMART farm will be able to provide
farmers with data on a deeper and wider scale. Access to better data is
expected to boost agricultural productivity, environmental sustainability,
safety and workflow, all of which make a farm more self-sufficient.
"As a local farmer, I understand the
importance of new technology and the efficiencies and opportunities it presents
to our industry,” said Agricultural Region Member of the Legislative Council
(MLC) Darren West, who represented Australian Education and Training Minister
Sue Ellery at the inaugural FarmSmart Showcase on 13 June.
"Not only is
technology changing the way we do things, it is also opening up new
opportunities for jobs. Muresk is leading the way in teaching and adopting the
latest innovations in technology and systems to allow us to keep pace with the
rest of the world."
Known as Muresk Agricultural College until
1985, Muresk Institute is a specialised agricultural training facility that
seeks to provide access to latest innovations in agricultural technology,
processes and equipment; It places an emphasis on industry-driven education,
and focuses on scientific research and professional development in Western
Australia’s agricultural sector. The launch of the public demonstration of the
SMART farm not only underscores Muresk Institute’s commitment to driving
innovation in the agricultural sector, but also affirms the institute’s
excellence in agricultural research and development.
Muresk Institute’s SMART farm comes in light of
similar smart farming projects across Australia; in March 2015, The University
of New England in the Australian state of New South Wales had established a
SMART Farm Innovation Centre at one of its Armidale commercial farms; the
Sustainable Manageable Accessible Rural Technologies (SMART) Farm included
technologies such as sensor networks, immersive communications technologies and
autonomous agricultural systems, all of which were capable of generating
real-time data on a 24/7 basis.
Besides smart farming projects, Western
Australia’s Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development also
recently conducted a Digital Farm Grants Program to boost digital connectivity
of farming businesses. The program was budgeted at 5 million AUD, and evaluated
applicants based on network coverage, network sustainability and price
In addition to appraising the merits of
cloud-based smart farming, Agricultural Region Member of the Legislative
Council (MLC) Darren West also added, “We need to up-skill and keep ahead of
the game in farming technology, especially with the competition from the Black
Sea”. According to commodity reports by
the high prices of Australian agricultural produce like Australian Premium
White wheat have led to a significant loss of market share in Southeast Asia as
key importers turn to cheaper substitutes from Black Sea agricultural exporters
such as Russia and Ukraine.
In June 2012, Australia’s market share of the
Southeast Asia wheat market was nearly 60 percent; as of 2017, this share had
slid sharply to below 40 percent. According
to the Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre, grain production in Russia
and Ukraine averaged 121 AUD and 133 AUD per ton respectively; in Australia,
that figure stands at a staggering 216 AUD per ton.
As a significant
source of employment and state income, Western Australia’s agricultural sector
needs to find new ways to improve price competitiveness while maintaining high
quality. Muresk Institute’s SMART farms will provide a testbed for improving
farm productivity and efficiency, ensuring that Western Australian farms keep a
technological edge above the competition.
This is Part 2 of a 3 part series. Read Part 1 and Part 3 here.
Cybersecurity has risen to the top of both national and international agendas. Government leaders from all over the world said that without cybersecurity there is no real national security. The boom of the digital economy and the digitalisation of businesses and society especially during the COVID-19 pandemic has now put the private sector at the centre of cybersecurity debates. Recent data mismanagements, or the revelations that social media sites compromised the data of millions of their users, highlight the central role that the private sector plays in cybersecurity. Undeniably, corporations are key players in the digital realm whether it is as distributors of malicious software, victims of cyber-attacks, or first responders to security breaches.
In the issue of cyber insecurity, the question lingers; what is the role of the private sector in cybersecurity policies, and how can this co-exist with the traditional responsibilities of government?
On a podcast by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), co-hosts Jim Lewis and Chris Painter talked with David Koh, Chief Executive of the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA). They discussed the integration between the private and public sectors in improving cybersecurity capacities.
Mr Koh recalled that the United Nations Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) hosted consultative meetings with 100 States, 114 non-governmental stakeholders from the private sector, civil society academia, as well as the technical community. He said that he was fundamentally shocked as to how many people from all over the world, from many dimensions, were committed and so deeply involved and had such great ideas on cybersecurity. For him, this only shows that dealing with cyber requires a multi-stakeholder strategy. Solutions cannot be made without the help of other sectors because a lot of internet infrastructures are not controlled by the states’ government alone, as most of them are operated by private industries.
A lot of the technologies coming out are from industry, academes and civil societies. Therefore, a multi-stakeholder engagement is an ideal method to improve cyber resilience on a bigger scale. Mr Koh noted that at an intellectual level, everyone understands cyber so everyone must also be committed to trying to find viable solutions. He also emphasised that cybersecurity is the key factor in achieving an open and secured internet environment that can help boost domestic and international economies.
Mr Koh acknowledges that countries have different perspectives and angles about cybersecurity. Therefore, the UN OEWG gave both private and public sectors the platform to voice their varying ideas regarding cybersecurity within their respective jurisdictions. The forum also helped in terms of building the cyber capacities of ASEAN and other developing countries.
Mr Koh and the CSA view cyber capacity building as a collective effort. For the agency, cybersecurity is only as good as its weakest link. Singapore has made it a point to include ASEAN countries in this endeavour to fully improve cyber resiliency in the region.
First, they want to raise awareness of cybersecurity among their neighbours. Secondly, they are looking to help these countries build capacity in a uniform manner between concerned parties. Likewise, non-member countries of the ASEAN can also do dialogue with the association so there will be a broader agreement that cyber resiliency is an urgent concern for everyone. The CSA believes that things will be much more effective if they are properly coordinated on a much larger scale.
To support these coordinated cybersecurity efforts, Singapore launched the ASEAN-Singapore Cybersecurity Centre of Excellence (ASCCE), an extension of the ASEAN Cyber Capacity Programme (ACCP). It aims to build more secure and resilient cyberspace through capacity building programmes for ASEAN senior policy and technical officials with decision-making responsibilities. The ASCCE seeks to fulfil three principal functions:
- Conduct research and provide pieces of training in areas spanning international law, cyber strategy, legislation, cyber norms, and other cybersecurity policy issues.
- Provide CERT-related technical training as well as facilitate the exchange of open-source cyber threat and attack-related information and best practices.
- Conduct virtual cyber defence training and exercises.
The ASCCE undertakes a modular, multi-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder approach to deliver these programmes. The ASCCE engages top cyber experts and trainers and collaborates with ASEAN member states, ASEAN dialogue partners and other international partners including Australia, Canada, the European Union, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States, in designing and delivering cybersecurity capacity-building programmes.
The ASCCE delivers programmes in consultation with the International Advisory Panel (IAP) comprising senior representatives from key partner countries and international organisations. The ASCCE will also review and further develop its training curriculum with the support of the International Programme Committee (IPC), which comprises experts from participating countries and international organisations.
Mr Koh and the CSA continue to follow the four Ms when building cybersecurity capacities. Multi-disciplinary, where it is not just about technologies but also policies to be implemented in capacity building. Multi-stakeholder, where it is recognised that governments need support from industries in the private sector. Modular, where programmes can upscale. Matrix, where agencies like the CSA can measure the effectiveness of their campaigns over time.
A Judgments and Orders portal and the e-Filing 3.0 module were recently inaugurated to strengthen the country’s legal system. The portal enables users to search past judgments and orders. The e-Filing 3.0 module allows for the electronic filing of court documents.
The Judgments and Orders search portal is a repository of judgments pronounced by various High Courts in the country. It provides the facility to search judgements and final orders based on multiple search criteria. The main features of the portal are:
- Free text search enables the user to search judgments based on keywords or a combination of multiple keywords.
- Users can also search judgments based on bench, case type, case number, year, a petitioner or respondent’s name, a Judge’s name, act, section, disposal nature, and decision date.
- The embedded filtering feature allows further filters on the results, ensuring a precise search.
Judge Dhananjaya Chandrachud, who inaugurated the systems, explained that the portal currently has data on about 38 million cases. The court had the data of 106 million cases that were being disposed of, which are now available.
The e-Filing 3.0 module, introduced by the e-Committee of the Supreme Court, allows for the electronic filing of court documents. With the introduction of the new module, there will be no need for lawyers or clients to visit the court premises to file a case. The filing process can take place even when the court, client, and lawyer are at three different locations. The project system was completed in six months, according to a press release.
The Secretary of the Department of Justice highlighted the various features of the e-Filing 3.0, saying that the upgraded version 3.0 is more user-friendly. It will simplify the registration of advocates on the e-filing software and enable advocates to add their partners and clients to the e-filing module. It offers readymade templates for pleadings and provisions for the online recordings of oaths. It enables case papers to be signed digitally. It provides the ability to file multiple applications apart and virtually exchanges information and case papers between advocates and courts.
The launch of the two portals reaffirms that Indian court architecture and judicial processes have been able to adapt to the fast-paced digital world. The Constitution recognises justice as one of the foremost deliverables for the people of India and the eCourts project has played a sustained role in ensuring citizen-centric justice. In recognition of the exemplary work, this project has been conferred the Excellence in Digital Governance Award in 2020 by the government.
At the event, Chandrachud noted the e-committee of the top Court is in the process of finalising its rules to allow the live streaming of court proceedings. In 2018, the Supreme Court approved in principle the concept of live-streaming important court hearings, however, it is yet to be implemented. The Gujarat High Court is the only court that live-streams its proceedings on YouTube.
Chandrachud stated that the video conferencing was initiated as a platform to answer problems of the COVID-19 pandemic – not to replace oral hearings but to ensure that courts were functional and available to those whose rights were being infringed.
Several dignitaries including Chief Justices of various High Courts, the Director-General of the National Informatics Centre, and members of the e-committee of the Supreme Court joined the event virtually.
The Philippine Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) fully supports the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)’s initiative to allow telecommunications companies to occupy a portion of the government’s Right of Way (ROW) to facilitate infrastructure build-up and speed up improvements to connectivity services in the country.
This is under the DPWH Department Order No. 29 (DO 29) or the “DPWH Policy on Telecommunications and Internet Infrastructure under Republic Act (RA) No. 11494” that eases restrictions on telecommunications companies aiming to construct information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure projects along national roads.
To put things into perspective, in 2014, the DPWH issued DO No. 73 prohibiting telecommunication and power companies from constructing posts along national roads as it “creates an imminent danger to lives and properties and hamper relief operations” during calamities. But during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, the DICT and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) asked the DPWH to consider changing the order as it slowed down the rollout of critical telecom infrastructure.
The DO 29 amendment complies with the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act (Bayanihan 1), or Republic Act (RA) No. 11469, that paved the way for accelerated approval of permits and other documents from the local government to speed up the construction of telecommunication towers. Also, Bayanihan 2, or RA No. 11494, further eased the construction of telecommunication infrastructure by waiving several other permitting requirements for telecommunication companies.
DO 29 allows telcos and ICT service providers to construct and undertake excavations and/or restoration work for ICT Infrastructure Projects within the allowable ROW limits of the national roads. DO 29 however, shall automatically cease application in 2024, after the lapse of three (3) years from its signing and approval.
DICT said that to address the increased need for Internet connectivity services during the state of public health emergency such as COVID-19, they thought that governing agencies must prioritise faster rollout of ICT infrastructures like cellular towers. The agency fully supports the DPWH’s initiative, and they hope that this will help address the issues of congestion, connection reliability and coverage soon.
Moreover, the DPWH stated that the DICT, along with the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), were instrumental in paving the way for the issuance of DO 29. Since last year, these agencies had urged the DPWH to revisit and establish more conducive ROW regulations to help improve internet connectivity in the country.
The DICT and the DPWH are working hand in hand to ensure compliance with their respective commitments under the Memorandum of Agreement signed during the First Philippine Telecoms Summit in 2017 to eliminate barriers to the expansion of connectivity services in the country.
Meanwhile, telecommunications companies thanked the DPWH for releasing DO 29, removing a bottleneck that prevented telecommunication service providers from constructing infrastructure projects along national roads. With this, telco companies now see faster network builds in the country. They also said that the DO 29 allows ICT service providers to construct and undertake excavations and restoration works for infrastructure projects within the allowable right of way limits of national roads.
Accordingly, reports say that as the lockdowns restrict business operations and limit the movement of people in the Philippines, internet connectivity has never been more urgent to enable digital transformation as the country adapts to new landscapes brought about by the pandemic. In times of crisis such as COVID-19, the telecom industry plays an important role in ensuring business continuity and household sustainability as a dependency for reliable broadband connectivity becomes more critical. The report added that Internet connectivity will serve as one of the main foundations in supporting the overall digital infrastructure development in the Philippines.
Federal, state and territory leaders have agreed to create an intergovernmental agreement to facilitate greater data sharing between all levels of government. The plan for the high-level agreement, which is still to be developed, was endorsed at a meeting of the national cabinet on 9 April 2021.
The Prime Minister stated that the national cabinet agreed that jurisdictions will work together to capitalise on the value of public data to achieve better outcomes for Australians. He noted that to achieve this, first ministers [and state and territory premiers] committed to developing an intergovernmental agreement which will be considered at a future national cabinet meeting.
While details are limited, the pact will likely make it easier for federal, state and territory government to share data, building on efforts with health and travel data during Covid-19.
The planned agreement would likely work alongside the Data Availability and Transparency Bill, which is currently before federal parliament. The legislation aims to streamline data sharing between governments and the private sector, overriding some 500 provisions in 175 pieces of existing legislation.
However, it faces calls for amendments from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, Australian Medical Association and the NSW Council for Civil Liberties.
The Australian Financial Review is also reporting that the agreement can be expected to lay the foundations for linked-up government services around key life events or journeys.
It means citizens could interact with government services across all tiers using one-stops shops like the federal government’s myGov or the NSW government’s MyServiceNSW.
myGov is already undergoing a major overhaul – for $35 million to date – to align services more closely with life events while offering a personalised view of interactions.
Data sharing has long been a focus of discussion for federal, state and territory digital ministers at the data and digital minister’s meeting.
At the last meeting in February, discussions centred on “how to meet the data needs of decision-makers across jurisdictions, including through better data sharing”.
The communique notes that improved data sharing can boost the economy and lead to better service design and delivery.
One dataset that is advancing the conversation is the national disability data asset, which is paving the way for a federation-wide view of the disability sector.
The asset – which digital ministers agreed to established in September 2019 – incorporates datasets from the federal, NSW, Victoria, Queensland and South Australian governments. Other areas front of mind for data sharing include emergency services, with the recent commitment to develop a national multi-hazards warning service for natural disasters.
Demand for smart city initiatives rising
Enhanced data sharing capabilities between various governmental levels and departments is key to creating smart cities and a smart nation overall.
An earlier article notes that despite posing significant hurdles to cities worldwide, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated a wave of innovation that will continue after the crisis, according to research from a global think tank.
The ‘Smart City Solutions for a Riskier World’ study underscores the vital role that technology, data, cybersecurity and public-private partnerships play to ensure a healthy, safe and prosperous future for citizens after the pandemic.
The research, conducted in August and September 2020, included a survey of senior officials from 167 cities across 82 countries, including Asia, North and Latin America, MENA, Europe and Africa. The cities represented 526 million people or 6.8% of the world’s population; 53% of these cities are in emerging markets and 47% in developed countries.
The survey categorises cities based on progress in two categories: progress in applying smart solutions, with cities classified as either ‘beginner’, ‘intermediate’ or ‘leader’; and progress on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with cities classified as either ‘implementer’, ‘advancer’ or ‘sprinter’. Cities that excelled in both areas were considered Cities 4.0 — hyperconnected cities that are sustainable and well ahead in the use of technology, data and citizen engagement.
For 65% of city officials, the pandemic underscored the importance of smart city programs, while 43% learned the importance of operational continuity and agility. For 37% of city leaders, the pandemic also highlighted the need to invest more in upgrading core infrastructure.
For 88% of city leaders, investing in cloud platforms is urgently needed to deliver critical and non-critical citizen services. The survey also found that 66% of cities are investing heavily in AI, with 80% forecast to do so over the next three years, especially in the area of digital assistants and chatbots. Meanwhile, 30% of cities will invest in digital twins, marking a 300% increase from the 11% currently investing in this technology. Research also indicates that 100% of Cities 4.0 have already invested in cloud; based on reported ROI estimates, the average return on digital infrastructure investments made by Cities 4.0 is 5.74%.
A new data analytics and automation platform has been launched in New Zealand. It aims to give better planning and forecasting capabilities to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in the country.
The developers chose New Zealand for its new tech due to the country’s high level of uptake for cloud solutions. The relatively advanced adoption of technology in general and maturity of the digital market surged especially during the age of COVID-19.
In the past, capitalising on the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning required specialists or in-house technical capabilities and the deployment of substantial resources. This effectively excluded most small and medium-sized businesses, which account for 97% of businesses in New Zealand and more than half of employment worldwide. The developers say that their technology puts powerful data modelling — ordinarily the preserve of the world’s largest corporations — within reach of every business.
The developers said that the tech brings the speed, simplicity, and convenience of consumer apps to business forecasting to make better, faster, more informed decisions. They also added that most financial software being used today focuses on measuring the past. But in growing a profitable, sustainable business should be based on understanding the future.
The new forecasting tool is a no-code technology that reveals patterns in business data that are usually hidden from view. The product allows SMBs to utilise enterprise-level data analytics to assess the future commercial impact of decisions, identify the best outcomes, and prioritise investment and resources.
The tech enables small business leaders to model a variety of future commercial scenarios based on their historical data. With it, users can automate data processes, from the source to report, and run forecasts powered by AI predictive analytics. The predictive analytics also help uncover new insights, after which teams can predict potential outcomes, create interactive report templates, and share and collaborate on industry-grade workspace tools.
Furthermore, growing businesses in New Zealand are at the head of the pack globally when it comes to adopting cloud business technology, and the platform effectively gives them access to a data scientist, said the developers.
The tech developers offer welcome assistance to often-stretched finance and operations departments. They aim to reduce the tedious, painstaking, time-consuming process of forecasting and planning into the digital age, giving business owners more time to focus on the tasks that grow the business.
Accordingly, as reported by OpenGov Asia, New Zealand has an established and clear data strategy and roadmap for the nation. The strategy and roadmap are intended to provide a shared direction and plan that organisations within and outside government can collectively work towards and align their efforts to generate maximum impact. It acknowledges that there is a need for greater alignment and coordination of effort across the system. The government understands that global data growth enables innovative data uses that are transforming the world and that In New Zealand is uniquely positioned to maximise the value of data.
The government agrees that it has a unique role to play in laying the groundwork for the future data system. The roadmap envisages a future where data is regarded as an essential part of New Zealand’s infrastructure and where data use is underpinned by public trust and confidence. As such, greater data use needs to be balanced with the protection of privacy rights and ethical use.
The strategy is designed to unlock the value of data for the benefit of New Zealanders. It will start by directing activity in focus areas to deliver the most impact:
Focus area 1: Invest in making the right data available at the right time
Focus area 2. Grow data capability and support good practice
Focus area 3. Build partnerships within and outside government
Focus area 4. Implement open and transparent practices
This strategy is an initiative designed to emphasise the value of data and information in the country.
Four electronic payment providers were chosen by Hong Kong to operate the city’s HK$36 billion digital voucher scheme this summer, which is estimated to bring economic growth of 0.7 percentage points this year, Hong Kong’s Financial Secretary said recently.
The four providers each cover about 30,000 to 100,000 merchants in retail, food and beverage, and service industries in Hong Kong, the city’s Financial Secretary noted.
“When identifying the operators, the government has taken factors into consideration including the provider’s experience, popularity, and their coverage of merchants,” the FS said, adding that the four providers are the customary payment tools for people in Hong Kong.
A central registration system will be set up so that any qualified Hongkongers above 18 years old will be eligible to collect a HK$5,000 digital consumption voucher this summer, according to the official.
The total planned issuing scale – HK$36 billion – is expected to shore up Hong Kong’s economic growth by 0.7 percentage points; meanwhile, it will push small merchants to adopt electronic payment, he noted.
The Financial Secretary stated that in order to produce the best possible economic results, in addition to the fast containment of the coronavirus in Hong Kong, it is hoped that all of the payment providers and merchants in retail, food and beverage and other service sectors can promote the scheme actively, and even offer discounts across different sectors so that the electronic vouchers can see a multiplier effect, prop up the local economy and market.
The economic stimulation effect of issuing digital consumption vouchers is twice that of issuing cash according to the Chairman of the China Silk Road iValley Research Institute. In particular, it is effective in boosting tourism – any 10 yuan digital voucher can feed into 300 yuan of consumption.
He noted that over the past year, the consumption willingness of Hongkongers was severely restrained. As long as the SAR government, business sector, and especially the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), can come up with methods to unleash the consumption potential, it will definitely help sales.
Hong Kong’s economy dived 6.1 per cent last year – the biggest annual contraction in history – as the coronavirus hit its tourism and consumption sectors.
When containment measures relax in the future, experts suggest that more Hongkongers spend in Hong Kong for the city’s ‘self-rescue’ instead of travelling to other cities. The Chairman added that the average number of times that Hongkongers travel abroad each year has hit 11.4 – the highest in the world.
In order to be back on track, Hong Kong could grasp the opportunities by actively getting involved in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, while the Chinese mainland sees brisk economic rebound, the expert stated.
According to an earlier article, Hong Kong’s finance chief unveiled a spending blueprint with fewer but more-targeted relief measures, including an unprecedented digital voucher scheme for residents to spur consumption, while forecasting a substantial recovery from the recession that could see economic growth of up to 5.5 per cent in the year ahead.
Presenting a budget focused on reviving the economy and easing the burden on a population struggling under the Covid-19 pandemic, the Financial Secretary had, on 24 February 2021, warned of a record deficit of HK$257.6 billion (US$33.14 billion) for the current fiscal year and more annual deficits ahead as he scaled down relief measures by a third.
Another report noted that the government’s electronic spending voucher scheme will hopefully promote e-payment in Hong Kong. Some believe the scheme will attract more small shops – especially stalls in wet markets – to install e-payment systems.
This is Part 1 of a 3 part series. Read Part 2 and Part 3 here.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is the world’s fastest-growing internet region, with the user base now at 480 million people. Digitalisation in Southeast Asia has important economic implications. By 2025, online spending could rise more than six-fold to US$200 billion. Most of this consumption will be in the areas of electronics, clothing, household goods, and increased travel across the region and elsewhere. This all bodes well in terms of building a middle class and fostering job growth in the region.
At the same time, there are negative sides to the transformation to a digital economy, with cyberterrorism, cyber fraud, and identity theft increasingly threatening its potential. Bad actors are working fast and creatively to wreak havoc on countries, businesses, and people. Today, the quality of a nation’s technology backbone is likely to influence its economic success. If cybersecurity is threatened, investor confidence in the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) will begin to decay.
On a podcast by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), co-hosts Jim Lewis and Chris Painter talked with David Koh, Chief Executive of the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA). They discussed progress in cybersecurity done by the CSA in its first six years, technical and policy cooperation within ASEAN, and next steps in cyber diplomacy after the conclusion of the current United Nations’ Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) processes.
Mr Koh stated that Singapore’s CSA is on a steady pace in the last six years, but it has been a frantic and hectic rollercoaster ride altogether. For him, they have made significant progress in Singapore in terms of cybersecurity. Firstly, by instilling the realisation that the country is tremendously dependent on digital infrastructures as a highly connected society. The way we work, the way we play, all kinds of things that we do depend on the internet today. This should make organisations and citizens realise that cybersecurity is an integral part of these practices. Mr Koh also sees cybersecurity as a key enabler for the nation to continue the way it lives, works, and plays.
From that perspective, CSA was born. Mr Koh said that he had the great honour of being selected to head up the organisation. He also noted that significant high-profile cyber hacks that occurred around the world helped in forming the agency. These cyber-attacks brought the message home to Singapore, a message that cyber risks are indeed real and must be taken care of.
Moreover, Mr Koh said that the CSA laid out the various cybersecurity strategies and the Singapore Prime Minister himself launched it. By doing so, it galvanised the domestic audience by showing a commitment from the national government that boosting cyber resiliency is something that needs to be done.
In the ASEAN, Mr Koh conceded that no man is an island, all more so in cyber issues. The nature of digital is cross border international. The country must realise that no matter what happens in Singapore, it would not be sufficient to curtail the widespread cyber threats. Singapore knows that its economic growth is tied to the ASEAN region thus building up the region’s cyber resiliency is vital. David noted that to do this, ASEAN countries should leverage ICT technologies in terms of economy, education and so on. The region can fully leverage these tech advancements if it can also deal with cyber risks as well.
The message is clear that nations are all dependent on each other and they can only reap the full benefits of digitalisation by dealing with cyber issues. Mr Koh is also glad that ASEAN members attend their meetings on cybersecurity at a ministerial level. That is how the ASEAN Ministerial Council on Cybersecurity (AMCC) was launched.
From a larger perspective, Mr Koh also mentioned that a rules-based framework must be implemented when dealing with cybersecurity. The United Nations’ Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) is the perfect platform to do so, as it is open and inclusive to all 193 countries, large and small have their place there. By conducting discussions on the forum, UN members can now see the importance of cybersecurity for their respective countries. The broadening of the conversation on cyber resiliency to a much wider body of the international community is a significant achievement. Mr Koh believes that the OEWG is the right forum to continue the discussion on improving cyber resiliency. He added that it is a welcome sight that the UN members came to an agreement and a consensus that the issue of cybersecurity is something that we should all work on together as a community.
Mr Koh said that if the approach in cybersecurity is in the same direction, whether it be for the potential impacts of cyber threats to the solutions that deal with them, countries can expect a positive outcome in terms of strengthening cyber resiliency. Leaders and decision-makers must recognise that cybersecurity is an issue, and they need to work together so everyone can move forward in this journey of full digital transformation.