Speech by Minister Josephine Teo at the 5th DataGovAi Webinar eSummit and eAwards
Dr. Rudi Rusdiah, Chairman of Asosiasi Big Data & AI
1. Selamat siang. Thank you for inviting me to speak at the DataGovAi webinar summit.
2. This year’s theme, which explores interoperability and trust of Digital Technology, is particularly relevant. With COVID-19, digitalisation has become all-pervasive. This has generated a huge amount of data, providing tremendous potential for data innovation. A World Bank report estimated global internet traffic in 2022 to be nearly five zettabytes, or about one trillion hours of Netflix movies. This is a thousand-fold increase compared to twenty years ago.
3. Data is becoming increasingly recognised as essential to good decision-making and success in business. President Joko Widodo once said that reliable data is the key to the success of a country’s development, and not to make plans and execute programs unless you hold data. We must therefore work together with partners to enable greater cross-border data flows through interoperability and trust, so that we can spur recovery amidst challenging macroeconomic conditions.
4. I was in Bali for the G20 Digital Economy Ministers’ Meeting two months ago, where I spoke in support of Indonesia’s priority areas such as cross-border data flows as part of its G20 Digital Economy Working Group Chairmanship. Greater cross-border data flows will allow our increasingly interconnected businesses to tap on emerging data-driven technologies like Artificial Intelligence and reap maximum benefits from the Digital Economy.
5. Platforms such as today’s event are important for enhancing cooperation and sharing ideas on how we can encourage trusted data flows.
6. Today, I would like to share three ways in which we are supporting cross-border data flow. First, championing interoperability through partnerships. Second, ensuring integration of rules with international frameworks. Third, strengthening trust in data and data-driven technologies.
7. First, championing interoperability through partnerships to create opportunities for our businesses. The ASEAN family has been collaborating to create interoperable transfer mechanisms that facilitate trusted personal data flows. For example, we consulted businesses to develop the ASEAN Data Management Framework. It provides businesses with a step-by-step guide to set up a data management system with the proper data governance structures and safeguards.
8. We also jointly developed Model Contractual Clauses for Cross Border Data Flows. This provides a template to ensure baseline data protection practices and management are in place. This enables businesses to reduce resources spent on negotiation and compliance.
9. Singapore looks forward to working with all our ASEAN colleagues, including Indonesia, to encourage more of our businesses to utilise these initiatives to smoothly handle inter-company transfer of data across ASEAN countries.
10. Singapore has also pioneered Digital Economy Agreements to facilitate trusted digital trade where we support interoperability and trusted cross-border data flows. Singapore has already concluded such agreements with five countries to date. We hope to partner with many more countries, including with Indonesia which I note has recently passed its Data Protection Act.
11. A second way we are promoting cross-border data flows, is to actively ensure integration of rules with international frameworks such as through co-developing initiatives with Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies, including Indonesia. Examples include the APEC Cross Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) and Privacy Recognition for Processors Systems. These APEC systems are international certification mechanisms which facilitate data transfers across APEC by harmonising standards to reduce barriers to data flows. We are working with partners to take the CBPR system global, and Singapore is one of the founding members of the Global CBPR Forum. Businesses can tap on these certifications to signal to stakeholders that their data is well-protected, and to transfer data more easily across the world.
12. The third way is to strengthen trust in data and data-driven technologies. Assuring stakeholders that the technology is secure and that there are processes in place to ensure responsible handling of data will encourage further data sharing and innovation.
13. Singapore is investing in trust technologies such as Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PETs), which will enable businesses to derive valuable insights without exposing the underlying private data. I launched the national Digital Trust Centre earlier this year, which will lead Singapore’s research and development efforts for trust technologies, enable businesses to experiment with these tools, and to nurture R&D talents in digital trust.
14. To assure stakeholders on the responsible adoption of AI, we published the Model AI Governance Framework in 2019 to guide industry in implementing trustworthy AI. Earlier this year, I also launched A.I. Verify, Singapore’s AI Governance Testing Framework and Toolkit, which organisations can use to self-assess their AI systems and generate reports on areas such as transparency, safety, and accountability. This will allow them to demonstrate the claims made about their AI systems and build trust with their stakeholders.
15. A.I. Verify is still a Minimum Viable Product, and we invite businesses to join us in our international pilot to develop best practices for implementing trustworthy AI; as well as like-minded standards bodies and regulators to ensure that A.I. Verify is recognised and interoperable with other global frameworks.
16. Cooperation will be key as we continue to nurture a vibrant and resilient Digital Economy together. I look forward to building more bridges across ASEAN and the rest of the world to harness the full potential of data and the Digital Economy.
17. Terimah kasih.