The Government will own the operating system of the Smart Nation Platform (SNP) in order to safeguard the robustness and trustworthiness of the system, and to protect all data collected, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) said on Tuesday (June 17)."Civil servants are citizens too, so we are concerned about data privacy. It is about striking the right balance between trust and data collected," said Mr Khoong Hock Yun, IDA Assistant Chief Executive, during a press briefing on the sidelines of the imbX 2014 trade show.
He said the OS will be owned by the Government given that it is the "brains" of the entire Smart Nation Platform. The OS is responsible for crunching all the data collected by the network of sensors that will be rolled out as part of the SNP.
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He added that the IDA is open to having private sector entities operate and manage the OS, but any such company will have to adhere to Government-stipulated parameters and regulations. There is no equivalent OS available in the market right now, so the IDA is building the system in collaboration with industry stakeholders, Mr Khoong said.
At the same briefing, IDA Executive Deputy Chairman Steve Leonard said that the Personal Data Protection Act currently excludes public sector agencies which already have their own data protection policies in place. However, with the increasing amounts and types of data being collected to enable the smart nation reality, he said this will be evaluated.
"I have no doubt that there will be ongoing evaluation and dialogue," Mr Leonard said, adding that the agency is learning from Europe in terms of how to use and protect the personal data collected by the system.
Mr Leonard also highlighted that one key way Singapore's smart nation initiative differs from smart city projects in other countries is the Republic's whole of Government approach to the project. Also unique is "unanimous support" from senior leaders for the initiative, he said.
Echoing the sentiment, Mr Khoong said that many smart city projects are innovative but face challenges when looking to scale up, but Singapore is unique in its ability to "join the dots" and scale the initiative to a national level.