SGTech Contributes to ASOCIO’s First Policy Guidance Paper on Data Privacy

In order to promote regional trade and economic development while ensuring personal data is protected, national governments must work on the harmonisation of data privacy laws as a matter of priority.
This appeal by the Asian-Oceanian Computing Industry Organisation (ASOCIO) was outlined in its first policy guidance paper released in Nov 2019, titled “ASOCIO’s Policy Guidance on Data Privacy: Preserving Privacy while Enhancing Access to Personal Data with Greater Trust in Asian-Oceanian Region”.  You may wish to read the Policy Guidance on Data Privacy here

This policy guidance paper was developed by the members of the ASOCIO Policy Task Force. After the idea for its formation was first mooted at the ASOCIO Plenary Meeting in Singapore in Jun 2019, the group jumped into action to develop this first paper. 

SGTech is a member of the ASOCIO Policy Task Force. As advocacy for our members is one of SGTech’s key focus areas, the objective of the Policy Task Force is aligned with this focus. Other than SGTech as the representative for Singapore, the Policy Task Force also comprises member associations from Bangladesh, India, Korea, Japan, Malaysia and Thailand.

Trust as a key element to support cross-border trade in the Digital Economy

ASOCIO recognizes that the Asian and Oceanian region is potentially the centre of global digitalisation, and its members play key roles to shape the future Digital Economy through increasing cross-border trade, of which trust is a key element.
ASOCIO Chairman, David Wong noted that ASOCIO, as a responsible stakeholder in the region, is seeking to underscore the importance of improving trust by protecting personal data across jurisdictions and at the same time promote increasing cross-border trade and collaboration.
“For this growth to be enabled and expand effectively, and for consumers and citizens to have trust and confidence, we need the data privacy protection agenda to be common among Asian countries, more practically implementable and — concurrently — effective in ensuring reasonable protection of personal data.”
Three key privacy principles to enhance trust
ASOCIO’s recommendation is based on three key principles:
  • Risk-based,  reflecting the scale, data type/sensitivity, and transfer frequency;
  • Accountable, with mutual recognition of, and interoperability with, existing/planned data governance certification; and
  • Inclusive, where frequent, open consultations with data protection specialists, businesses, lawmakers and consumer groups occur transparently. 

These principles can collectively raise consumer trust, reduce compliance costs and minimize legal complexity.  Mr Wong further added, “Adoption of these recommendations by business partners, policymakers and ASOCIO member businesses will promote freer, safeguarded data flows that enable regional economic growth and closer cooperation across the region. These principles are also key elements of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and also APEC’s Cross Border Privacy Rules (CBPR).”  

Enhancing trade and collaboration through harmonisation

ASOCIO is advocating that these principles be adopted by all governments in the region to cultivate the necessary trust to enhance trade and collaboration. The current situation of fragmentation of laws and regulations with a country-centric focus makes it challenging to protect data privacy, especially when data crosses borders.
ASOCIO and its national member associations stand ready to work with governments and the industry, as well as regional inter-governmental organizations (ASEAN, APEC, EAF) to enable the development of coordinated and harmonised national laws.

Feedback welcome

We welcome ideas and feedback from SGTech members on this policy guidance paper. Please drop us a note at

Coming up next - Artificial Intelligence 

The ASOCIO Policy Task Force is currently wrapping up its next policy guidance paper, which focuses on Artificial Intelligence. We want to thank the EXCO members of SGTech’s AI & HPC Chapter in reviewing and commenting on the draft of the paper.

The Asian-Oceanian Computing Industry Organisation (ASOCIO) is an ICT federation organised by ICT associations representing 24 economies throughout the Asia Pacific. Collectively, ASOCIO member associations cover more than 10,000 ICT companies in the region. 

The economies represented by ASOCIO member associations are Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Korea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

Published Dec 2019