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Speech by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister of Communications and Information at the 49th Public Meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)

24 March 2014 - Speech by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister of Communications and Information at the 49th Public Meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), on 24 March 2014 at 8.40 am, Raffles City Convention Centre.

Speech by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister of Communications and Information at the 49th Public Meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), on 24 March 2014 at 8.40 am, Raffles City Convention Centre

Dr Stephen Crocker, Chairman of the ICANN Board

Mr Fadi Chehadé, President and CEO of ICANN

Ladies and Gentlemen

1. Good morning. It is my pleasure to join you at the 49th ICANN public meeting today. Singapore is honoured to host this event again. Let me extend a warm welcome to all of you.

Thriving IT Industry

2. The global IT industry is growing. In January this year, IT research and advisory company Gartner, predicted that worldwide spending for IT and telecoms will total US$3.8 trillion. This is a 3.1 percent increase from 2013 spending. In Singapore, projected IT spending in 2014 is forecasted to exceed US$20 billion. This is an increase of almost 4.4 percent over 20131.

3. We are also seeing an exponential growth in data. According to research company IDC, the worldwide data market will reach revenue of US$23.8 billion in 20162. Individuals are also consuming data at a far greater scale. A study by the University of California, San Diego, stated that by 2015, the amount of media content that an average US citizen consumes in a day, excluding their time spent in their workplace, would average slightly over 15 hours a day. That is equal to 6.9 million gigabytes of information per person, per day3. I am sure that this estimate is applicable in Singapore as well. About 84 percent of Singapore’s households have access to broadband. Our mobile penetration rates stand at 156 percent. A majority of these mobile subscribers have at least a 3G connection4, and 24 percent are already on to a 4G connection. In terms of business use of the Internet, 80 percent of enterprises in Singapore have broadband connectivity, with about 46 percent having a web presence5. Singapore is therefore naturally concerned about the security, usability and stability of the Internet. ICANN plays an important role in addressing these challenges.

Making the Internet More Secure, More Inclusive

4. In today’s connected world, the Internet has become a fundamental utility to businesses and individuals alike. It is necessary that cyber security be an important priority to ensure that the Internet continues to be a safe and secure place for users. Some of you may have known that Singapore was faced with an unprecedented cyber threat last year, where both the government and businesses were the targets of DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attempts, website defacements and data breaches. We responded firmly and quickly and we have been stepping up our infocomm security measures. Our measures are multi-layered and constantly updated to meet the changes in technological risks. But even as we enhance our systems and capabilities, businesses and individuals must also do their part to ensure that they take the necessary precautions to protect themselves. It is thus vital for the Government, businesses, and individuals, to be more vigilant and further strengthen the security of our infocomm infrastructure and systems. We recognise that we need to build up our pool of infocomm security professionals and develop their competencies. Only then can we better mitigate cyber threats and provide a trusted and secure online environment for businesses and individuals, where our personal data is safeguarded against unauthorised use and disclosure.

5. Since the last ICANN meeting here in 2011, Singapore has introduced the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA). The PDPA, which took effect on 2 January this year, aims to protect individuals’ personal data against misuse, while promoting proper management of personal data in organisations. It requires that organisations collecting, using and disclosing personal data notify their consumers of the purposes of such data activities and seek the consent of these individuals. This gives individuals better control over the disclosure of their personal information, at the same time enables businesses to gain consumers’ trust and confidence.

6. As a baseline law, the PDPA ensures a common standard for protection of individuals’ personal data, and will be administered concurrently with other sectorial legislative and regulatory frameworks in Singapore. This is important for us as Singapore seeks to retain our competitive edge and strengthen our position as a trusted business hub.

7. Given the utility of the Internet, we have also taken steps to make important telecoms services like broadband Internet more accessible and affordable to different segments of our population. For example, through the NEU PC Plus programme, we help students from low-income households own a brand new computer at a subsidised price with free broadband connection. The Infocomm Accessibility Centre has been set up to help those physically challenged learn ICT skills. Under the Silver Infocomm Initiative, we provide affordable infocomm training and customised curriculum for senior citizens. I understand that our digital inclusion efforts are a matter of interest to attendees at ICANN and we would be happy to share more about them.

8. Many areas of our work are carried out through collaboration and sharing of best practices. We will continue to work with the various stakeholders to ensure the stability, security and continued usability of the Internet. On this point, I would also like to congratulate ICANN for successfully setting up two regional hubs last year - one in Istanbul, Turkey, and the other here in Singapore. It underscores ICANN’s commitment to serve the global community. I believe that the Asia-Pacific hub in Singapore will be a great vehicle for ICANN to reach out to the region, and I would like to commend the work it has done so far, in disseminating information and also offering assistance on ICANN’s initiatives and services to the countries around us.


9. I believe it is important that ICANN continues to organise these conferences and meetings, as they provide opportunities for members to share perspectives, and allow us to develop a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities. In particular, I understand that the first community-wide dialogue on the development of transitional process to transfer the stewardship of administering changes to the Domain Name System and unique identifiers registries to a global community will be held this week. Singapore is committed to such a multi-stakeholder approach. This global body must continue to preserve the speed of decision-making processes, be relevant and responsive to industry and consumer needs, and be able to look long term. It should also preserve the inclusive nature of the Internet to the global community.

10. On this note, let me wish everyone a fruitful dialogue and a good week of discussions ahead. Thank you.

Notes to Editor

1 Gartner Says Worldwide IT Spending on Pace to Reach 3.8 Trillion in 2014, Gartner, 6 Jan 2014
2 IDA Worldwide Big Data technology and services market forecast 2012 – 2016, IDC, Dec 2012
3 US Media Consumption Rise to 15.5 Hours a Day – Per Person – by 2015, University of California, San Diego, 6 Nov 2013
4 IDA’s Statistics on Telecom Services for 2013 (Jul – Dec)
5 IDA’s Business Infocomm Usage Survey