Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA) under the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society has hosted the “Go Digital with ETDA” event on August 28, 2020, to not just showcase its outstanding achievements during the year, but also to launch a new policy that will accelerate the country’s move towards a fully digital future. The agency’s goal is to help the Thai public “go completely digital” by promoting and developing every key digital service.
The event is being held at the Walk the Talk conference room on the 15th floor of ETDA building. Digital Economy and Society Minister Puttipong Punnakanta spoke about the “Future of Digital Economy and Society” at the event, noting that Thailand ranks 29th out of 63 countries on world competitiveness as per the International Institute for Management Development (IMD).
However, he said, if the ranking is considered using four key factors – economic performance, government efficiency, business efficiency and infrastructure – Thailand has done far better than last year. In business efficiency, Thailand has risen to 23 from 27 in the list and from 45 to 44 in terms of infrastructure.
This, he said, was driven by the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society’s active role in pushing forward and continuously strengthening the country’s digital infrastructure with developments like the 5G technology, which doesn’t just offer the latest in technology, but also helps boost equality among Thai people; the CAT-TOT merger which created the National Telecom Public Company Limited (NT) to boost competitiveness in the fast-changing sectors of industry and technology; a new digital ecosystem under the Thailand Digital Valley project built to attract investment; as well as the development of the Government Data Center and Cloud Service (GDCC).
The Ministry of Digital Economy and Society has also played a vital role in helping Thai society overcome the Covid-19 crisis through the creation of several applications and platforms, especially the “Thailand Wins” platform, which has helped control and prevent infections by getting people to “check-in” and “check-out” when visiting establishments.
“However, we have not overlooked development in other areas that have gained low scores, such as government efficiency and economic performance, but are working to push Thailand up in the ranking. This includes support and development of common digital services that are secure and up to international standards.
This has been done through ETDA’s key operations, such as its Digital Service Sandbox in which innovations or services related to electronic transactions are tested for the security and privacy of users, and the Digital ID Ecosystem, an infrastructure that makes online services reliable through authentication and verification.
“The ministry will also coordinate with other state agencies and businesses to develop a central public-service platform, so people do not need to register repeatedly. ETDA will be responsible for maintaining service standards, so Thailand’s digital services reach international levels.
“Today, many new technologies, like blockchain and AI, are still lacking governance, while online fraud prevention is still in need of stronger links with network partners to ensure mitigation or at least immediate resolution. Government agencies also need to watch out for cyber threats,” Puttipong said.
Chaichana Mitrpant, ETDA’s chief executive officer, believes the agency has one important goal – becoming an organization that drives the economy and society with electronic transactions by bringing all sectors together in line with the rest of the world.
This goal can be achieved under ETDA’s main roles, namely promoting electronic transactions, building cooperation with all sectors to make electronic transactions vital, and supervising digital businesses by building trust to support the expansion of Thailand’s digital society.
ETDA’s key jobs are to supervise digital service businesses, develop digital standards and laws, develop a digital ID ecosystem, prevent online fraud and get the general public ready for a digital future.
This year, ETDA has achieved outstanding results through five projects, namely:
1. Digital Governance Project: It has helped different sectors to start using digital technology with confidence and has put in place a trustworthy regulatory mechanism. ETDA is responsible for passing laws and important measures like the Digital ID Decree to promote businesses related to digital ID, and provide the public with services that are fast, reliable and convenient.
The laws, when become effective, will put in place a supervisory mechanism for certification services to support electronic signatures and sets standards and guidelines to encourage a wider, less risky use of e-signatures. The agency has also promoted virtual conferencing or e-meetings during the Covid-19 outbreak by issuing regulations and setting standards to give users confidence in the system, and has launched the Digital Service Sandbox to test new innovations and services to ensure they are in line with the law before they can be launched.
2. Speed-up e-Licensing Project: It has fast-tracked the digitization of government services and not just reduced costs, but also made access to services more convenient for the business sector and the public. ETDA helped develop data structure standard for digital government services and improved the process of licensing and issuing of documents. It has also developed an e-Timestamp for use when submitting an e-document.
3. Digital Transformation Project: This provides the government sector with stable and secure systems. ETDA has launched a Government Threat Monitoring System (GTM) to look out for cyber threats within government agencies and is preparing to develop the Threat Watch platform to make the system more efficient.
4. Thailand e-Commerce Sustainability Project: This aims to reduce inequality and augment people’s income through e-commerce. ETDA, in cooperation with its networks, visited many communities nationwide to teach people about e-commerce. The agency has also developed an e-commerce curriculum to prepare students for the digital-age labor market and has launched online courses for the general public via ETDA platforms and the Office of the Civil Service Commission.
ETDA is focused on determining the development direction different sectors will take by surveying internet usage habits of Thai people, e-commerce value in Thailand and other statistics so it can supply businesses and consumers with reliable information that they can use to come up with a feasible marketing plan and make the most of online business opportunities.
5. Stop e-Commerce Fraud Project: This works proactively to protect online consumers via the Social Listening tool, which analyses data and alerts users before there is an incident. ETDA has also held training sessions to build cyber-security capabilities of related personnel and interested persons, which will help Thailand expand its cyber workforce.
Chaichana added that ETDA’s policy and operation plan for 2021 will see it moving forward with three projects:
1. Driving electronic transactions in Thailand through a strategic plan to develop infrastructure as well as setting guidelines that ensure all sectors move in the same direction. ETDA has also conducted studies to ensure its foresight is crystal clear, leading to better policy formulation, business direction determination and marketing plans.
In addition, it has strengthened e-commerce skills among the workforce to meet market demands in the digital era. Moreover, it has enhanced and accelerated the process of consumer protection by establishing a system to link information within the network.
2. Putting in place mechanisms that look after digital businesses by setting criteria, laws, standards and guidelines on fostering digital businesses and key services as well as building confidence among users of existing services by creating a standard auditing system.
3. Strengthening the government’s digital platform, so businesses and the public have safe, convenient and quick access with the development of standard and data models. The system also helps departments exchange information, supports the government’s exchange center and sets standards related to the use of digital ID and e-signature.
It also builds awareness and readiness among government personnel by getting them trained and provides a surveillance system that can respond in a timely manner and manage the possibilities of cyber threat.
“Based on the points above, ETDA has set a goal that by 2022, Thailand will have a digital services landscape that is standardized and complete to help direct the country towards development. It will also include the development of a digital ID ecosystem for all stakeholders leading to a broader use of digital ID mechanisms.
As part of ‘Go Digital with ETDA’ campaign, ETDA will assist government agencies set up and use e-Service and e-Office systems that will be built in line with the agency’s standards and criteria to digitize and bring all sectors together,” Chaichana said.