The Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications (MTIC) is in the midst of enacting new cybersecurity laws, including a legal and regulatory framework on personal data protection slated to be ready by this year. 

Speaking during the Brunei Darussalam 5G Seminar on Thursday, MTIC Minister underscored the significance of cybersecurity especially in the current technology-defined world, as the sultanate itself is progressing towards a digital transformation on a nationwide scale. 

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“With the advancement in new technologies and innovation, deployment of various connected devices and immense flow of data, cybersecurity is now becoming more important than ever,” explained Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Abd Mutalib POKSSDP Hj Mohd Yusof. 

In light of this, the minister then called attention to the efforts that are being pursued in order to realise the country’s digital transformation including the national focal cyber security agency, Cyber Security Brunei (CSB) that was established in August of last year. 

“I’m also pleased to share (that) current works are now in progress towards the enactment of new Cybersecurity laws,” he continued, adding that the ministry and the Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry (AITI) are in the midst of preparing the legal and regulatory framework on personal data protection. 

The framework, according to the minister, is targeted to be ready within this year. 

“This will complement MTIC’s current efforts in formulating and reviewing related policies, including the need to address the importance of data sovereignty for Brunei Darussalam,” he explained. 

In the meantime, he added, the sultanate is currently subscribed to the ASEAN Framework on Digital Data Governance as guidance for digital data management and cross-border data flows. 

Speaking on Brunei’s digital transformation, the minister went on to discuss the country’s readiness, citing some key statistics from the ICT industry restructuring which took place in January of 2020. 

Fixed Broadband Subscribers in Brunei Darussalam grew by almost 30 per cent between January to September of last year, and within the same time period, utilisation of internet bandwidth had also grown by 63 per cent. 

In terms of affordability, the entry-level or base price of postpaid mobile services was reduced by 50 per cent with the $25 annual mobile license fee removed altogether, while prices for fixed broadband were reviewed in accordance with doubled quota and speed. 

Meanwhile, in the context of ASEAN, the sultanate took second place in the Telecommunications Infrastructure Index based on the United Nations E-Government Survey 2020. 

The sultanate was also within the top two countries of ASEAN in the Measuring Digital Development: ICT Price Trends 2019 Report by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) which monitors the affordability of ICT services. 

“However, we must not be complacent. There are still more that we can do together for Brunei Darussalam to progress further in digital transformation,” said YB Dato Abd Mutalib, adding that a whole of nation approach is needed to move forward in supporting Brunei’s digital economy. 

“Therefore, each ministry will pursue their respective Digital Transformation Plans, covering not just the ministry alone, but also for the whole sector under their respective purview,” he added. 

“The Smart Nation Office is also now in the process of preparing for a stock-take on the plans and progress undertaken for respective ministries’ plans,” the minister continued. 

THE BRUNEIAN | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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