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Asia Pacific Dashboard Digest | Notes from the Asia-Pacific region, 17 Feb. 2023 Related reading: A dive into workplace privacy law with Zoe Argento




Dear privacy pros,

For those of you who celebrate it, I hope you have recovered from the Lunar New Year festivities and all the over eating and over drinking that always seems to accompany these gatherings.

ChatGPT and similar artificial intelligence technologies continue to feature in headlines around the world. ChatGPT creator OpenAI  is already planning the launch of a premium version of the technology, which would guarantee users speedy access during peak hours, when they are likely to be greeted with a “ChatGPT is at capacity right now” message.  Small wonder, since it was recently crowned the fastest growing consumer application in history by analysts from UBS, rapidly scaling to 100 million monthly active users in just two months.

Microsoft, a major investor in OpenAI, recently announced a new version of its Bing search engine which incorporates ChatGPT. Clearly feeling the heat, Google also announced a chatbot “companion” to its search engine, nicknamed Bard. Google also made a huge investment in Anthropic, a startup building another chatbot called Claude, which happens to be founded by former OpenAI employees. Across the pond, Baidu, sometimes referred to as the Google of China, jumped on the bandwagon by announcing it will release its own chatbot Ernie in March.

Instead of ChatGPT, Bard, Claude or Ernie, however, I would like to feature another name in the rest of today’s introduction. I believe Deputy Commissioner Yeong Zee Kin of the Singapore Personal Data Protection Commission is a familiar name to most, if not all, of us. Concurrently holding the appointment of Assistant Chief Executive (Data Innovation and Protection Group) of the Infocomm Media Development Authority of Singapore, Zee Kin has been instrumental in shaping both the data protection landscape in Singapore as well as raising the country’s profile in the AI governance, AI ethics and data analytics space worldwide.

Zee Kin oversaw the development of Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Act in 2012, as well as its subsequent amendments in 2020. As a regulator, the PDPC is highly regarded for its clear and well-documented policies, templates and other resources, as well as enforcement guidelines that help consumers and businesses understand their rights and obligations under the PDPA. Zee Kin has also been passionate about building capability and professionalism within the privacy community in Singapore, as the PDPC’s Competency Framework and Training Roadmap and IAPP’s collaboration with the PDPC on PDP Week amply demonstrate.

The PDPC is also known for its good commercial understanding of the legitimate needs of businesses to process personal data, particularly as Singapore pivots from a compliance-based approach to an accountability-based approach toward regulating data use. During Zee Kin’s tenure, the PDPC created various frameworks to help businesses manage compliance with the PDPA and pursue technological innovations more effectively, such as the Data Protection Trustmark and regulatory sandboxes.  The PDPC also contributed to various frameworks to facilitate cross-border data transfers including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Model Contractual Clauses, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Cross-Border Privacy Rules and Privacy Recognition for Processors Systems.

On the international stage, Zee Kin helped cement Singapore’s reputation as a global thought leader in the AI space, spearheading the development of Singapore’s Model AI Governance Framework, which won the UNITU World Summit on the Information Society Prize in 2019.

Zee Kin will be leaving the PDPC for his next appointment as the Chief Executive of the Singapore Academy of Law on 1 April. While this represents a huge loss for the privacy community in Singapore, the IAPP would like to congratulate Zee Kin and wish him all the best in this exciting new chapter of his career.

Kind regards.

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