• Companies will be penalised more heavily for data breaches while also getting more freedom to use personal data to innovate under changes to Singapore’s data protection laws passed in Parliament on Monday.
  • With the increased adoption of AI, IoT, analytics to support business growth in India, these are several trends that are likely to emerge in the post COVID world.
  • Repurposing personal data is punishable under the Data Privacy Act the NPC said in response to complaints from citizens against business establishments over mishandling and misuse of contact-tracing data.
  • The Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy highlighted the need for digital talent in Indonesia in several sectors, including 5G, cloud computing, big data to face the Industry 4.0 era.
  • DIGITAL transformation efforts in Vietnam have yielded the biggest improvement among regional economies, according to an industry study of 11 Asia-Pacific markets.
  • Malaysia has started the process of integrating digital technologies into all areas of its economy, and the next step is to carve its position as the “Heart of Digital Asean”.


Stiffer penalties for data breaches, more opportunities for legitimate uses of data as Parliament passes changes to PDPA

Singapore Parliament passed changes to the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) on Monday (Nov 2), including an amendment that allows organisations to use data without consent in more cases as well as stiffer penalties for data breaches.

This tension between keeping consumers’ trust high and supporting data use for innovation was acknowledged by Communications and Information Minister S. Iswaran during the debate on changes to the PDPA. It was also the subject of rigorous debate between MPs.

Under the PDPA’s “exceptions to the consent requirement”, organisations can now use, collect or disclose data for legitimate interests, business improvement and broader research and development, Communications and Information Minister S Iswaran told Parliament before the Bill was passed. This includes to prevent fraud, improve products or conduct market research to understand potential customer segments. Current consent exceptions include investigations and responding to emergencies.

A key change in the Bill increases the maximum amount that a company can be fined for a data breach to 10 per cent of its annual turnover in Singapore or $1 million, whichever is higher. Organisations are now also required by law to inform both the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) and affected individuals of data breaches that result in or are likely to result in significant harm. Mr Iswaran said the use of data under consent exceptions or deemed consent will come with safeguards, including clear limits on how the data can be used and getting organisations to conduct risk assessments.

Organisations can also use data without consent to support commercial research and development that is not immediately directed at productisation, Mr Iswaran said. Ultimately, Mr Iswaran believes the PDPA amendments will strengthen consumer trust with greater accountability for the protection of personal data. “It will give greater certainty for organisations to use data for legitimate business purposes with the requisite safeguards, and it will ultimately enhance Singapore’s status as an important node in the global network of data flows and digital transactions,” he said.


Top Emerging Trends In AI & ML To Watch Out For In The Post COVID World

AI vs ML COVID pandemic has accelerated the technology adoption, and many businesses are riding on a digital transformation journey. AI and analytics are playing a critical role in driving these innovations leading the companies towards a new normal in the post COVID world.

With the increased adoption of AI, IoT, analytics to support business growth, there are a lot of trends that we expect to emerge in the space. In this article, we take a look at a few of those trends in AI and machine learning that are likely to emerge in the post COVID world.

Responsible AI

Many reports estimate that the use of AI, ML and analytics is going to increase in the coming years to re-define the processes significantly. As the use of AI grows at an unprecedented rate, it is essential to bring frameworks and practices to ensure ethical, transparent and accountable use of AI technologies. We are seeing increased interest in moving beyond the wow-factor of ML demos to envisioning the ML lifecycle.

Customer Intelligence

One thing that has changed drastically due to COVID is customer preferences and the way they engage. With the digital outbreak, customer behaviour post-COVID will never completely return to pre-pandemic norms. Consumers will purchase and complete more transactions digitally than before. AI will help companies detect newer purchasing patterns and deliver a more personalised experience. There is a desperate need for the human touch in digital communication while managing customer service’s cost pressure. Sachin Bhatia, the co-founder of Ameyo, believes that augmenting customer service with AI can help businesses control expenses and still deliver faster responses over channels.

Computer Vision Technology

Computer vision-based tools and developments have become particularly popular since the outbreak of COVID to ensure business continuity.It has been deployed to identify masks and monitor social distancing to stop the spread of COVID, and several startups are beginning to provide these solutions to enterprises. Many research and reports suggest that computer vision technology will continue to be deployed to ensure the safety of the workforce even after operations are resumed post the reduction of the threat of the virus.

Language models

From the whole gamut of AI and ML technologies, Natural Language Generation (NLG) is increasingly gaining momentum in the COVID and post-COVID world. In fact, language models are getting extremely good at consuming and generating text – so much so that OpenAI’s GPT-3 model can write content that is indistinguishable from that of humans. “We will see many more enterprise outcomes of this technology like abstractive summarisers, context-aware digital assistants, actionable insight extractors and more in the coming days,” says Dattaraj Jagdish Rao.


NPC warns against using personal data collected from contact tracing

The National Privacy Commission has warned against the repurposing of collected personal data in client/visitor contact-tracing forms and employee health-declaration forms for direct marketing, profiling or any other use or purpose beyond what is required for COVID-19 prevention and control.

In a statement, NPC Commissioner Raymund Liboro said that repurposing personal data is punishable under the Data Privacy Act (DPA). The Commission issued an Advisory in response to complaints from citizens against business establishments over mishandling and misuse of contact-tracing data, such as a customer’s name, address, age, cellphone number and e-mail.

Advisory No. 2020-03 details guidelines for workplaces and establishments in processing personal data for Covid-19 response, such as the use of privacy notices to exhibit transparency, and the proper handling of paper-based and digital contact-tracing forms. The advisory, crafted with recommendations and inputs provided by data protection officers (DPOs) from the privacy council for the retail and manufacturing sector, was issued to build public trust in businesses and how they handle sensitive personal data amid the pandemic.

Establishments need to consider privacy and security in each stage of the data life cycle, from collection to use, storage and disposal. “As personal information controllers, establishments play a big role in the implementation of contact tracing. For this reason, they are expected to guarantee the protection of personal data under their safekeeping,” Liboro said. “Companies and businesses need to exhibit transparency about the data they collect and for what and how it will be used.’’

Under the new advisory, employees, clients/customers, and visitors must be informed through a privacy notice of the details of the processing of their personal data, according to the advisory. The advisory prohibits identity checks or other intrusive means when collecting employees or customers’ personal data, unless it is part of a documented regular procedure (e.g. presentation of company ID for employees or asking for proof of identity for visitors).


Indonesia requires abundant digital talent pool to face Industry 4.0

AIThe Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy highlighted the need for plentiful digital talent in Indonesia to face the Industry 4.0 era. “In facing the Industry 4.0 era, Indonesia still lacks skilled personnel and digital experts,” Ministry’s Deputy for Digital Economy and Creative Product, Muhamnad Neil El Himam, remarked.

In order to bridge the digital talent gap, Indonesia will have to produce some 600 thousand every year. In the Industrial 4.0 era, Indonesia is projected to require digital talent in several sectors, including 5G, cloud computing, big data, and soft skills, to support their professionalism.

In a bid to support the digital economy ecosystem in Indonesia, the ministry had come up with several programs, including the Bekraf Digital Talent and Go Startup Indonesia. Meanwhile, Head of Google Cloud Indonesia, Megawaty Khie, stated that the JuaraGCP program had trained over 12 thousand developers in Indonesia in 60 cities in the fields of data analysis, machine learning, and DevOps.

Citing a report from the Boston Consulting Group, 345 thousand new jobs would be available by 2023 if public cloud technology were to be significantly adopted in Indonesia. Cloud computing technology, also called the cloud, is necessary to support digital transformation, not only for startups but also for companies in order to ensure that their businesses stay competitive.


Vietnam leads Asia-Pacific in pace of digital progress

AIDIGITAL transformation efforts in Vietnam have yielded the biggest improvement among regional economies, according to an industry study of 11 Asia-Pacific markets. Vietnam saw the highest increase in scores between 2016 and 2019, in the digital society index study carried out by mobile operator industry player GSMA Intelligence.

Its latest rating stood at 49 points for 2019, up by 12 points from three years before, which GSMA Intelligence attributed to “notable improvements in the connectivity component of the index, following the launch and rapid expansion of 4G networks”.

“It was also driven by improvements to the digital identity, digital citizenship and digital lifestyle components,” added the report. GSMA Intelligence noted that Vietnam is pursuing a national Industry 4.0 strategy that includes infrastructure and human resources, as well as e-government and innovation. “However, there are still challenges that need to be addressed to make further progress, particularly in the digital commerce component and with regard to policies to support innovative startups,” the report added. Also, 5G mobile technology is expected to make up 5 per cent of wireless connections in Vietnam by 2025, well below the Asia-Pacific average of 23 per cent.

Indeed, Vietnam ranked just eighth overall, among of the 11 markets surveyed. The rankings were topped by four “advanced” economies, with South Korea in pole position at 78 points. Next up were Singapore, Australia and Japan, in that order. “The gap in the digital societies landscape in Asia-Pacific has narrowed moderately in recent years,” said the report, which classed Vietnam, India, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia as “transition” countries, while Pakistan and Bangladesh were “emerging”.

The study was based on input from government and industry organisations in the markets of Australia, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.


The next step in Malaysia’s digital transformation

AIMalaysia has started the process of integrating digital technologies into all areas of its economy, and the next step is to carve its position as the “Heart of Digital Asean”. “We are committed to leading the country’s digital economy by creating inclusive, high-quality growth through nationwide digitalisation initiatives that are aligned with the Shared Prosperity Vision 2030.”

“This is our aspiration for the country. As the Heart of Digital Asean, Malaysia will serve as a regional digital powerhouse launching global champions to lead the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0),” says Datuk Wira Dr. Hj. Rais Hussin Mohamed Ariff, chairman of Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC).

“The next step in Malaysia’s digital transformation journey should pivot on a people-focused, value-based Industry 4.0. I envision a higher purpose in driving the country’s digital transformation by ensuring an equitable outcome through rakyat inclusiveness and economic resilience,” says Chow Sang Hoe. consulting managing partner for Ernst & Young Advisory Services Sdn Bhd.

The National 4IR (Industry 4.0) and Digital Economy Council and the National Digital Infrastructure Plan (Jendela) will accelerate the growth of our digital economy. This includes the formation of the National Technology and Innovation Sandbox, which aims to produce digitally skilled local talent by providing opportunities for R&D, innovation and high-tech entrepreneurship capabilities. The implementation of 5G infrastructure and Industry 4.0 practices will push the adoption of technology and digital transformation. This is necessary for the country’s economic trajectory.

Malaysia aspires to be a hub of digital creation and innovation by attracting investment to niche areas. Meanwhile, MDEC is actively cultivating e-commerce, big data analytics, AI, blockchain, automation and the Internet of Things (IoT) to serve as drivers of economic growth. There will be positive knock-on effects in niche areas such as animation, games development and eSports as our capacities grow. Malaysia will also further develop as a regional hub for data centres and as a test bed for emerging technologies.



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