Singapore Grows Trust in the Digital Environment

Launches the National Digital Trust Centre and co-creates the future of AI standards and governance with global partners through A.I. Verify

At the ATxAI conference, a part of Asia Tech x Singapore (ATxSG), Mrs. Josephine Teo, Singapore’s Minister for Communications and Information announced the launch of the Digital Trust Centre (DTC) to lead Singapore’s research and development efforts for trust technologies, and support talent development in this space. She highlighted that as technology evolves, new risks will emerge. Therefore, it is important to invest in trust technologies such as Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PETs) that preserves data privacy while the data is being analysed, as well as trustworthy AI technologies which help verify and explain the expected performance of AI systems.

About the Digital Trust Centre

The Centre is funded by a S$50 million investment from the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and the National Research Foundation (NRF) under the Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) 2025 plan. Hosted by the Nanyang Technological University, the Centre is a national effort to focus on four key areas of trust technologies. To achieve this, DTC will embark on the following:

  • Trust Tech Research – Enable Institutes of Higher Learning and Research Institutes to pursue research excellence in Trust Technologies and drive local and international collaborations.
  • Trust Tech Innovations – Encourage academia and enterprises to co-develop and mature research ideas into market-ready solutions.
  • New sandbox environment – Enable businesses to experiment with Trust Technologies to alleviate challenges with data sharing. 
  • Deepen local capabilities – Nurture 100 R&D talents in digital trust.

Singapore stepping up its contribution to GPAI through the DTC

Singapore is a founding member of the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI), which is a multi-stakeholder initiative that fosters international cooperation to bridge the theory and practice in AI. Singapore contributes actively to GPAI through expert groups such as data governance and commercialisation. Singapore plans to step up its contributions to GPAI through the DTC.

To this end, IMDA and the International Centre of Expertise of Montreal for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (CEIMIA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding today for one of the world’s first cross-border collaboration on PETs. Under this, solutions will be developed to demonstrate how PETs can overcome privacy and compliance challenges for organisations building novel applications that leverage cross-organisation and cross-border data. The experience will guide future research and development, business adoption of PETs and contribute towards the development of international standards.

The DTC will be the implementation partner for this collaboration between the IMDA and CEIMIA, which is one of the two centres of expertise for GPAI.

Co-creating standards for Trustworthy AI with industry

A.I. Verify, the world’s first AI Governance Testing Framework and Toolkit, was launched at the recently concluded World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland. A result of close collaboration with global industry partners, ten companies[3] from different sectors were involved in the testing of its Minimum Viable Product and feedback process.

Minister Teo announced Singapore’s intention to work with an even wider group of stakeholders through an international pilot to enhance A.I. Verify, co-develop benchmarks and better methods of verifying trustworthy AI, and devise more effective ways to explain what factors affect the behaviour of AI applications to internal stakeholders, business partners and customers.

Singapore furthers regional cooperation

Singapore and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members won the top award at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Prizes Ceremony 2022 in the category of “International and Regional Cooperation” for its ASEAN Data Management Framework (DMF) and Model Contractual Clauses for Cross Border Data Flows (MCCs).

This initiative was led by Singapore as Chair of the ASEAN Working Group on Digital Data Governance, and developed in consultation with ASEAN businesses. The toolkits will help businesses in ASEAN transact and collaborate in the digital economy with ease and confidence. DMF provides a step-by-step guide for SMEs to put in place a data management system with data governance structures and safeguards. MCCs are template contractual terms and conditions that may be included in the binding legal agreements between businesses transferring personal data to each other across borders. This reduces compliance costs and saves time required for lengthy contract negotiations, especially for SMEs while ensuring personal data protection when data is transferred across borders.

Minister Teo also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on digital cooperation with H.E. Abdul Mutalib Yusof, Brunei’s Minister of Transport and Information, as part of Singapore’s robust network of digital economy government-to-government MOUs in the Asia Pacific region and beyond, to advance collaboration in the digital economy and digital connectivity.