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Results of Public Consultation on a Framework for Building Trust and Confidence in E-Commerce

As part of its ongoing efforts to foster a conducive and trusted environment for E-Commerce (EC) to flourish, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), together with relevant government agencies had identified a four-pronged approach to building trust and confidence in EC...

Singapore, 21 February 2001 | For Immediate Release

As part of its ongoing efforts to foster a conducive and trusted environment for E-Commerce (EC) to flourish, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), together with relevant government agencies had identified a four-pronged approach to building trust and confidence in EC. The strategies identified include, establishing a secure environment; establishing confidence in E-business; building user confidence and raising user awareness.

To ensure that the proposed approach addresses the concerns of the industry, the IDA issued a consultation document on 26 September 2000, to obtain feedback from the industry and public. The aim is to arrive at a comprehensive framework that will instil trust and confidence amongst EC industry players and users. At the close of the consultation period, a total of 48 companies, industry associations and individuals, representing a broad range of interests, submitted comments. Together with other government agencies, the IDA assessed these responses and identified the key areas requiring follow-up action.

In general, majority of the respondents supported the need to raise the level of trust and confidence in EC and the strategies proposed toward that objective. The respondents also offered suggestions and views on specific strategies. Some of the key areas include:

(i) Adopting a Secure Public Key Infrastructure (PKI)
It was generally acknowledged that PKI is the best solution available today which addresses the key issues of authentication, confidentiality, integrity and non-repudiation required for secure EC transactions. Respondent attributed the slow adoption of PKI in Singapore to a general lack of awareness. To address this issue, the IDA will continue to raise the level of awareness by working with the industry to organise relevant discussion forums. Specifically, the IDA is currently working with various industry partners on the formation of a PKI Forum, which aims to address the key issues and impediments, as well as strengthen co-operation between the government and industry. Details on this forum will be made available soon.

(ii) Introducing EC Insurance and Underwriters
Most respondents felt there is a need for specialised EC insurance to cover risks associated with online businesses. IDA, together with other key government agencies, will help facilitate the entry of overseas EC insurance service providers and underwriters, as well as encourage local banks and insurance companies to offer such services.

(iii) Introducing Online Escrow Services
While majority of the respondents agreed that online escrow services would boost the level of trust between buyers and sellers, some were uncertain if this suggestion would be relevant to all sectors of the industry. At present, there is no legal or regulatory framework to govern online escrow activities. For a start, the IDA has posted some Frequently-Asked-Questions on its website to explain the framework for escrow services provision in Singapore. Together with the Monetary Authority of Singapore and relevant government agencies, the IDA will engage established escrow service providers to discuss their entry to the Singapore market.

(iv) Issuance of Trust Marks
Much of the feedback received indicated that trust marks would serve to instil greater user confidence in EC transactions. It was recognised that a co-ordinated and multi-faceted approach must be taken to achieve widespread usage of trust marks. The government will work in close partnership with the industry to implement an effective trust mark programme in Singapore. The Productivity and Standards Board and IDA will take the lead to encourage and help the industry develop and adopt best practices in the conduct of EC activities. More details of this initiative will be announced in due course.

A paper summarising the comments received and key findings of this consultative exercise can be downloaded. The IDA thanks all respondents for their considered and constructive views and comments.


About Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is a dynamic organisation with an integrated perspective to developing, promoting and regulating info-communications in Singapore. In the fast-changing and converging spheres of telecommunications, information and media technologies, IDA will be the catalyst for change and growth in Singapore's evolution into a vibrant global info-communications technology centre. For more information, please visit

For media clarification, please contact:

Ms Chia Sher Ling
Manager, Corporate Communication
Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
Tel: +65 6211-1840
Fax: +65 6211-2227