ASEAN countried discuss cross border data flows and cybersecurity

Countries in the region welcomed cybersecurity cooperation

Enhancing cybersecurity cooperation across ASEAN is key to the security of future economy and digitalisation initiatives especially in view of the recent rise of global cybersecurity and supply chain attacks and threats, within the region.

At the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Digital Ministers’ Meeting (ADGMIN), cooperating countries in the region welcomed cybersecurity cooperation by formalising existing AMS National CERT-level exchanges with the establishment of an ASEAN CERT information exchange mechanism as a core component of the future ASEAN CERT.

The mechanism will support national CERTs through the exchange of information and best practices, and coordinate CERT capacity building programmes in the region.

The meeting approved key Singapore-led initiatives, including the ASEAN Data Management Framework (DMF), ASEAN Model Contractual Clauses for Cross Border Data Flows (MCCs) and the proposal to establish an ASEAN CERT Information Exchange Mechanism for enhancing cybersecurity cooperation.

The meeting also approved the ASEAN Digital Masterplan 2025 (ADM2025), which will help accelerate inclusive digital transformation so that ASEAN will emerge stronger and more resilient from the COVID-19 crisis.

Minister for Communications and Information and Minister-in-charge of Cybersecurity, Singapore S. Iswaran said, the ASEAN Digital Masterplan 2025 sets out the important role digitalisation will play to accelerate post-COVID-19 recovery.

“We are glad that ASEAN has pushed ahead with developing the ASEAN Data Management Framework and ASEAN Model Contractual Clauses for Cross Broder Data Flows and agreed to establish an ASEAN CERT Information Exchange Mechanism,” he noted. “These tangible projects will help ASEAN businesses, especially the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), seize the opportunities that the Digital Economy offers and strengthen our collective cybersecurity cooperation.”

The ASEAN Data Management Framework and ASEAN Model Contractual Clauses for Cross Border Data Flows2 are key resources and tools for ASEAN businesses to utilise in their data-related business operations.

The ASEAN DMF is a guide for businesses, particularly Small and Medium Enterprises to implement a data management system. This includes guidelines for data governance structures and appropriate data protection safeguards depending on the underlying purpose of the dataset of interest throughout its lifecycle.
MCCs are contractual terms and conditions that may be included in the binding legal agreements between businesses when transferring personal data to each other across borders.

The initiatives were developed by the ASEAN Working Group on Digital Data Governance, in close consultation with key associations and businesses in the ASEAN industry.

These initiatives also received positive feedback from various international organisations, business associations and companies3. underscoring their practical value. The ASEAN Working Group on Digital Data Governance is chaired by Singapore.

Singapore also welcomed the new ADM2025, which includes the following key elements:

  • Establishing bridges with markets, how businesses should digitally connect beyond borders and how to facilitate more cross-border transactions via interoperable digital utilities and cross-border data flows
  • The need to build digital skills and literacy capabilities so that people can thrive, and more tech job opportunities can be created
  • The importance of digitalising businesses so that MSMEs/SMEs can transform
  • The need for resilient digital infrastructure and connectivity, as well as the necessary supporting policies and regulations.


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