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Newsletter December 2021 | Preparing for a Digital Future, What Will Next Year Hold?

Updated: Apr 19, 2022

Dear Readers,


A smartphone is now an essential tool to operate and participate in our now increasingly digitalised world. It’s funny to think that a small rectangle object contains so much of our personal information in the very palm of our hands. Reflecting on this year, it was no surprise that personal data privacy was high on the agenda. The Personal Data Privacy Bill continued to be deliberated in parliament. Although a stalemate still stands on how a supervisory body would be established to oversee that all parties adhere to data privacy rules. CIPS advocated that such a body could not be under or part of an executive branch of government due to strong conflict of interests. Instead, we argued that it would need to be set up as an independent commission altogether. While we wait for parliamentarians to reach a decision, perhaps it’s time that regulatory approaches also innovate alongside digital ones. CIPS has been a strong proponent of coregulatory approaches. To be clear, coregulation is not merely public-private dialogue as a form of consultation by policymakers with all stakeholders. Coregulation allows the private sector to set its own rules and regulations on what is appropriate conduct for their industry. The digital space is ever-shifting and government regulators will always be behind the curve. Technologies such as blockchain and AI increase the complexity of our world. It makes sense that those at the front lines of digital transformation would be best positioned to determine how the industry operates. There is more research to be done here, of course. There are risks, such as how coregulation can be prevented from turning into outright monopolies by big industry players. Yet, if the right balance is struck, we may see more positive benefits in freeing up space for private enterprise to flourish. Another co-regulatory approach are sandboxes. Here, new regulations can be tested and piloted in a limited scope. This is most common in the fintech space, but there may be opportunities in other sectors such as HealthTech. This is particularly useful when rolling out new policy ideas. Learnings and risks identified during the sandbox stage would be crucial in refining policies to increase the likelihood of achieving desired outcomes. So, should can we expect in 2022? The Personal Data Privacy Bill certainly will remain an urgent matter. Passing a law is crucial considering that we can expect to see further developments in e-commerce and platforms will integrate othe