New IT regulatory bodies for Singapore

Singapore’s Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) will restructure the Info-communications Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) and the Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) to form the Info-communications Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA) and the Government Technology Organisation (GTO).

The agencies will come into effect on April 1, the start of Singapore’s fiscal year,  although they are slated to be fully operational within the second half of 2016 the Government said.

“Whether you like it or not, convergence will take place … the environment is changing and we need to do something about it,” Minister of Information and Communications Dr Yaacob Ibrahim said announcing the new agencies.

The new IMDA will develop and regulate the converging infocomm and media sectors in a holistic way. It will implement the Infocomm Media 2025 plan, to create a dynamic and exciting sector, filled with opportunities for growth, through an emphasis on talent, research, innovation and enterprise.

He added that the Personal Data Protection Commission will be part of the new IMDA to ensure that public confidence in the private sector’s use of personal data is safeguarded, even as companies increasingly leverage the data they collect as a source of competitive advantage.

The new GTO will lead digital transformation efforts in the public sector. It will focus on providing a citizen-centric user experience and encourage the participation of citizens in the co-creation of public digital services.

The GTO will ensure the security and resilience of the government’s IT infrastructure, thus helping to strengthen the nation’s cyber defences.

The GTO will take over the IDA’s tasks in the digital transformation of the public sector, fulfilling the role of the government chief information officer (GCIO), the Minister added.

The arrival of services like Netflix has seen a bluuring of lines between media and IT and questions have arisen over the ultimate regultory authority.

“We have to take a step back and see how the landscape has changed – we have been monitoring the landscape in terms of the convergence of infocomm and media for many, many years,” Yaacob said, “We recognised the challenges a converged environment has created, in terms of regulation as well as the opportunities being created.”