Trust, partnerships and a new Industry Digital Plan for S’pore’s cyber progress

19/10/2023

There is something going on nearly every week when it comes to improving Singapore’s cyber capabilities. Especially this week, with Asia’s most established cybersecurity event Singapore International Cyber Week (SICW) ongoing at the Bayfront. 

Singapore is already a world leader in the cyber sphere, according to the United Nations Global Cybersecurity Index, and is one of the world’s leading smart cities. Why stop there, though? Opportunities and jobs abound in cyberspace and we work to launch and link Singapore to them while keeping this digital domain safe and trusted — we will keep Singaporeans well-connected. 

Heng Swee Keat on partnerships and the public good 

The Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) will partner with Microsoft in order to fight cybersecurity threats and enhance Singapore’s cyber defence. There is also a separate, similar partnership with Google. 

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced these partnerships at SICW this Tuesday (17 Oct), where he additionally spoke about how different countries and organisations can come together and harness the digital revolution for a more prosperous and inclusive world. 

Source: Prime Minister’s Office 

“We must encourage more of such public-private partnerships, to develop win-win solutions that safeguard and expand the public good,” said DPM Heng about these partnerships. 

They are afterall a step toward tripartite partnerships, the time-tested bedrock for success and progress in Singapore — more of those to go round means more benefits all round. 

Rahayu Mahzam and Tan Kiat How on the Legal Industry Digital Plan 

Meanwhile, the legal industry now has a guide for going digital. Senior Minister of State (SMS) for Communications and Information Tan Kiat How and Senior Parliamentary Secretary (SPS) for Law Rahayu Mahzam co-launched the Legal Industry Digital Plan (IDP) earlier this week (Oct 16).  

“The Legal IDP helps users understand the digital environment they operate in, self-assess digital maturity, navigate legaltech tools, and learn specific use cases. It is also the first IDP that incorporates elements of Generative AI in the legaltech solutions on the market,” posted SPS Rahayu about this milestone for the legal community

Source: Rahayu Mahzam / Facebook 

This Legal IDP joins over 20 others which our government developed across other industry sectors ranging from Accountancy to Wholesale Trade, and which have benefited about 90,000 small and medium enterprises in Singapore. 

“We will also be launching the Digital Enterprise Blueprint in 2024 to bring together our various efforts into a comprehensive roadmap that charts the next bound of enterprise digitalisation, ensuring that our firms remain competitive in a digital world, ensuring that our workers have new opportunities, while keeping ourselves cybersafe online,” said SMS Tan. 

This way, Singaporeans will be empowered while digitalisation continues. 

Teo Chee Hean on trust getting Singaporeans through tough times 

Partnerships and plans only flourish when all parties trust each other, though, and so Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean highlighted its importance to the leading policymakers, academics and industry partners at SICW too.      

In particular, he stressed how public trust in the digital domain helped Singaporeans get through the pandemic successfully. Remember TraceTogether and SafeEntry? Where these mobile apps were quick rollouts from our government to do contact tracing and to pass on beneficial information, they helped control the spread of COVID-19 thanks to how well Singaporeans took to them. 

Source: Singapore International Cyber Week / Facebook, Cheryl Chan / Facebook, Singapore Land Authority 

“People knew that this was for the common good and trusted that their digital information would be protected and treated responsibly by their governments. Lives were saved as a result. In societies where public trust was lower, contact tracing efforts were not as successful. Infections spiked dangerously, overwhelming healthcare facilities, and citizens paid the ultimate price,” said SM Teo. 

One lesson that we can take away from SM Teo’s speech then, is this: Different parties must work together on the difficult task of trust-building in the digital domain. This especially when the benefits are so very tangible and can keep Singaporeans on track while journeying through cyberspace and forward.