IP on Edge: The South-East Asia Perspective
Apr16

IP on Edge: The South-East Asia Perspective

In recent years, there has been a tremendous growth in the adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) technology across all sectors globally. IoT technology has demonstrated an ability to enhance many aspects of how we work and live, from more accurately tracking cargo as it journeys across the globe, to enhancing predictive maintenance of manufacturing equipment, to allowing your refrigerator to tell you when you’re running low on your favourite yoghurt. This rapid adoption has been fuelled by the ability to pair IoT not just with cloud computing but also with edge computing, allowing businesses to benefit from the unlimited computing resources of the cloud to run artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities or more detailed diagnostics, and to pivot to edge computing where more processing is required closer to the IoT device. The ability to adopt both cloud and edge computing allows businesses to operate IoT technology across their entire operations, even where there is reduced latency or where faster response times are required. As a result of this, we are seeing more and more businesses developing and installing new IoT devices to enhance their products and services. By some estimates, there may be as many as 25 billion installed end-point IoT devices by 2020, with a further 1 million more devices expected to come online each hour thereafter.   IoT and the IP risk The explosion in the number of IoT devices naturally brings with it several risks. These include risks relating to data privacy, cybersecurity, data sovereignty and intellectual property (IP). There has been a traditional focus on the three former risks due to high profile data breaches and several new laws being enacted in the region such as Singapore’s Cybersecurity Act, Thailand’s new Personal Data Protection Act, and Vietnam’s Cybersecurity Law. The risks associated with IP are therefore not often the foremost consideration when undertaking IoT-related innovation projects. What then is this IP risk? In short, the development of new IoT technology by a company brings with it the risk of IP infringement claims by third parties that this ‘new’ technology incorporates or copies the third party’s IP without permission. Such litigation can be costly to undertake and may result in very high settlements or awards. According to a recent study, there has been a steady increase in IoT-related patent litigation in the past seven years in the US, the majority of which are brought by non-practicing entities (NPE), or patent trolls, and this scenario is very likely to play out in South-East Asia as the region develops. Simply put, the risk of litigation in the IoT space is growing and is likely to continue. IP infringement...

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Update on proposed amendments to Singapore’s PDPA
Nov08

Update on proposed amendments to Singapore’s PDPA

Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) has today issued a response to the feedback received on its earlier public consultation on a new direct marketing act, a new enhanced practical guidance framework (EPG Framework) and a review of the exceptions to the consent obligation. A copy of the PDPC’s response can be found here. The PDPC’s response refines and clarifies some of its earlier proposals, taking into account the public feedback that was received. Outlined below are some of the key developments. The PDPC will clarify that the new direct marketing act: (A) will not apply to in-app notifications; (B) will also apply to unsolicited marketing and commercial messages sent via text but that include images, videos and audio files; and (C) will also apply to messages sent by senders who users have “followed” on a social media platform but from whom users may not wish to receive commercial text messages. The PDPC will institute a phased approach to the shortening of the mandated period for effecting a user’s withdrawal of consent for direct marketing calls. Such withdrawal period for phone calls under the Do-Not-Call provisions will be shortened from 30 days to 21 days initially, before being shortened to 10 business days in order to align with the withdrawal period for unsolicited marketing messages. The PDPC has confirmed that: (A) determinations under the EPG Framework will be available proposed business activities which have sufficiently detailed plans; and (B) that professional advisors will be allowed to seek determinations on behalf of organisations, and industry bodies will be allowed to seek determinations on behalf of their members. The PDPC will now impose a fixed validity period for all EPG Framework determinations, which will be decided on a case-by-case basis. What’s next? It is expected that the new Direct Marketing Act and EPG Framework provisions will now be drafted, although the timeframe within which these will be open to public consultation and tabled in Parliament is unknown. The PDPC’s response also suggests that further refinements to the exceptions to the Consent Obligation can be...

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Singapore to form advisory council for ethical use of AI
Jun21

Singapore to form advisory council for ethical use of AI

Earlier this month, the Singapore Government announced the formation of an Advisory Council on the Ethical Use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Data as part of a wider push to support Singapore as a global hub for AI development and innovation. The council will be chaired by former Attorney-General VK Rajah, and will consist of representatives from technology companies and users of AI. What is the role of the Advisory Council? The Advisory Council will lead discussions and provide guidance to the Singapore Government on the responsible development and deployment of AI. It will work with key stakeholder groups on ethical issues arising from the use of AI. This will include working with industry to understand issues arising in the private sector; working with consumer advocates to understand consumer expectations in respect of AI; and working with the investment community to increase awareness of the need to incorporate ethical considerations in their AI investment decisions. Why is Singapore forming such an Advisory Council? AI is becoming an increasingly integral part of life in Singapore as the Government executes its “Smart Nation” initiative. For example, local bank OCBC has developed an AI-based automated chat system called Emma that can communicate with customers and work out home loans; scientists at A*star’s Genome Institute of Singapore are using AI to pinpoint the roots of gastric cancer by scanning the entire genomes of a few hundred gastric cancer tumours; and researchers from the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health and Singapore’s National Environment Agency has developed an AI agent to forecast dengue incidence up to four months ahead by learning the seasonal patterns of dengue cases over the last decade. These are just a few recent use cases as, with top-down support from the Government, Singapore embarks on an effort to position itself as a global centre of excellence in AI. Putting in place the Advisory Council, as part of a wider set of initiatives in the AI space, is the start of an effort to build a framework for trust in AI. What does “ethics” mean in this context? In making the announcement, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) provided its own definition of “ethics” in the context of AI: “Ethics encompasses issues surrounding fairness, transparency and the ability to explain an AI’s decision.” This is a concept that will no doubt develop in the coming years but by providing a definition and, in particular, emphasising a need for AI to be able to explain itself, the IMDA appears to be setting out in general terms what it considers to be “ethical” in the context of AI. What else is Singapore...

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New direct marketing act and other proposed amendments to the PDPA
May30

New direct marketing act and other proposed amendments to the PDPA

Key takeaways Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) is proposing a new act on direct marketing that will combine the provisions in the Spam Control Act with the Do-Not-Call provisions in the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA). The new act will also include some changes to streamline the regulations for all unsolicited commercial messages. A new Enhanced Practical Guidance framework has been proposed that will allow the PDPC to provide “determinations” with regulatory certainty on whether specific business activities are PDPA-compliant. A review of the existing exceptions to the consent obligation set out in the Second to Fourth Schedules to the PDPA will be undertaken, with a view to updating them for continuing commercial relevance. The deadline to submit comments on these proposals is 5pm on 7 June 2018. What you need to know about this Public Consultation On 27 April 2018, the PDPC released a Public Consultation Paper with a number of proposed changes to the PDPA. This Public Consultation follows in the wake of two recent public consultations conducted last year which dealt with proposed guidelines on the use of NRIC numbers, enhancements of the way in which data is collected, used and disclosed, and on the introduction of a data breach notification regime. We discuss some of the key proposals of this Public Consultation below. 1. New act to merge direct marketing regulations Unsolicited commercial messages are currently regulated under two Acts – the PDPA and the Spam Control Act (SCA). Presently, the SCA applies to electronic messages (i.e. email and text messages) sent in bulk, while the Do-Not-Call (DNC) provisions of the PDPA applies to marketing messages sent to a Singapore telephone number. The PDPC proposes to merge the SCA and the DNC provisions of the PDPA into a new act that will govern all unsolicited commercial messages, mirroring the approach taken in other jurisdictions such as Hong Kong and the United Kingdom. The new act will also introduce some additional changes including the extension the DNC provisions to all unsolicited marketing text messages sent to Singapore numbers (not just those sent in bulk) and by extending the SCA provisions to unsolicited messages sent through instant messaging platforms (e.g. WhatsApp and LINE). Amendments are also proposed to align the time period afforded to organisations to effect a withdrawal of consent or unsubscribe request from an individual. These changes are intended to reduce ambiguity for organisations in complying with different requirements when sending marketing messages. 2. New Enhanced practical guidance framework The PDPC proposes to introduce a new Enhanced Practical Guidance Framework to supplement the existing general advisory guidelines and guides it publishes. The proposed Framework...

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A Practical Guide to Malaysia’s Anti-Fake News Act
May08

A Practical Guide to Malaysia’s Anti-Fake News Act

Key Takeaways: Malaysia’s Anti-Fake News Act is in effect and being enforced. The Act applies to the publication of information in any form which is wholly or partly false. Media companies, whether “traditional” or online media, should review policies and processes to avoid inadvertently falling foul of the requirements. Introduction: The term “fake news”, used to describe fabricated news or misinformation in the media, has attracted much attention recently – not only as used by President Trump to refer to certain media outlets but also by policy-makers around the world, who are weighing up whether and how to regulate it. One of the first countries in the world to introduce specific legislation is Malaysia, which introduced its Anti-Fake News Act on 11 April 2018. In this post, we look at what the Act requires and what it means for media companies. What is the Anti-Fake News Act? Malaysia enacted the Anti-Fake News Act 2018 on 11 April 2018. The Act has implications for anyone who publishes or distributes, or facilitates the publication or distribution of, news or any kind of public information. In particular, media companies – both traditional media outlets such as print, TV and radio, as well as online media and social media platforms – should be aware of the Act and its implications for the company’s practices. Failure to comply may attract hefty penalties for the company and its directors. How is “Fake News” defined? Under the Act, it is an offence to maliciously create, publish, distribute or otherwise disseminate “fake news”. This term is broadly defined to include any news or information in any form, which is wholly or partly false. The Act provides a non-exhaustive list of examples of offences under the Act, including: Publishing a statement on your social media account that a food product contains harmful ingredients and is being sold to the public, knowing that the food product has been discontinued and is no longer sold to the public Publishing an advertisement containing a caricature depicting someone as a successful investor in an investment scheme, knowing that person is not involved in the scheme Giving a speech at a public forum saying that someone has misappropriated moneys collected for charitable purposes, knowing that this is not true Holding a press conference claiming that the owner of supermarket will give out free gifts to customers on the first Saturday of each month, knowing that the owner has no intention to do so The broad application of the Act extends beyond the reach of existing defamation laws (which generally require proof of damage to one’s reputation) and media laws such as the Printing...

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Singapore’s new Cybersecurity Bill: What’s changed and what happens next
Jan18

Singapore’s new Cybersecurity Bill: What’s changed and what happens next

Singapore has taken a step closer to passing its first Cybersecurity Act. On 8 January 2018, Singapore’s first Cybersecurity Bill was read in Parliament. This Bill is an updated version, and was revised following a public consultation process on the initial draft Bill in July 2017. The government received 92 submissions from a diverse range of stakeholder groups, and the consultation was extended in response to requests for more time to provide feedback, reflecting the level of interest in this legislation. This updated Bill is a timely and important development in view of increasingly sophisticated cyber-attacks that could potentially cause major disruptions to Singapore’s economy. The intention behind this Bill is to have a coordinated national approach to cybersecurity, and ensure that critical information infrastructure (CII) across all sectors are protected consistently. We summarised the key provisions in the previous Bill in our earlier post. In this post, we summarise the key changes introduced by the updated Cybersecurity Bill: What has changed? 1.  Critical information infrastructure. This updated Bill tightens certain important definitions, and acknowledges that the owners of CII may not always be best placed to ensure that the statutory obligations are fulfilled. The key changes are as follows: Definition of CII. The definition of CII has been tightened and will only include those computer or computer systems that have been designated as such by the Commissioner. Definition of owners of CII. Owners of CII, who will need to comply with the relevant statutory obligations under the Bill, are now defined as legal owners (instead of someone with effective control over the CII etc.). The Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA), in its end-of-consultation report, further clarified that computer systems in the supply chain supporting the operation of a CII will not be designated as CII, and therefore third party vendors will not be considered owners of CII. These are positive developments as there is now certainty over the imposition of statutory obligations. Responsibility for compliance. There is also now a mechanism for owners of CII to request the Commissioner to address the notice for compliance to another person under certain conditions (e.g. if the owner does not have effective control over the operations of the CII). This acknowledges that owners may not also be operators of the CII, and are hence not best placed to ensure that the statutory obligations are fulfilled. 2.  Government power to access data. Some of the responses expressed concerns about the government’s broad rights to access information and systems. However, the broad powers granted to the Commissioner to access physical and digital assets have, if anything, been increased further. Although the degree...

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