Out-Law News | 03 Dec 2014 | 11:32 am | 2 min. read
The 'Virtual Singapore' project was revealed as Lee officially launched plans for Singapore to become the world's first 'smart nation' built on the latest technological developments.
"We are going to launch a new project called Virtual Singapore, the idea is to develop an integrated 3D map of Singapore enriched with layers of data about buildings, land and the environment," Lee said in a speech. "It will be a platform to bring the government, citizens, industry and research institutions together to solve problems, for example to simulate wireless coverage or effects of heavy rain."
Lee said a new Smart Nation Programme Office is to be created within the Singapore government to better coordinate government initiatives and research and development projects. The prime minister said the new department would exist within his Office and that he would "take a personal interest" in its work.
Lee said that Singapore would seek to develop students that "create the technology of the future" and that children must be "exposed to IT" and computer programming.
"We must expose our kids and we must enable the most talented and interested ones to be able to go far and develop their talent in IT in schools and pursue that, whether in university, whether after that, to set up a start-up or to join a company, or work with the government and make a smart nation," Lee said.
The Singapore government is "reviewing how to manage the careers of our technologists and engineers" and it wants to develop both technical expertise but also a "culture and the mindset of experimentation", Lee said.
"Being willing to try new approaches, disrupt existing ways of doing things; try, fail fast, learn the lessons, turn around quickly; constantly pushing the boundaries, inside the government, outside the government," Lee said.
Singapore's prime minister said 'smart nation' plans would involve using technology to improve healthcare and home energy consumption, but that the increasing connectivity would require Singapore to improve on cyber security.
"It is vital that we have secure systems that we can trust, not just preventing credit card numbers from being stolen, but protecting ourselves from malicious attacks where there is hacking or distributed denial of service attacks," Lee said. "Whether is it malware that infects our computers which steals sensitive information or possibly threatens critical infrastructure if it gets into the hospital IT systems, patients can die, if it gets into our power system, our power grid can be brought down, if it gets into our airport system, we can have a very serious problem."
"It is not a laughing matter, we take it seriously; we already have cyber security duties residing in Ministry of Home Affairs and the Infocomm Development Authority. But I do not think that they are as strong as we would like them to be. We need to reorganise them, to strengthen our system and our institutions. We are studying how best to do that, to protect our government systems, including the smart nation sensor systems, against cyber-attacks," he said.
"But also outside the government, other critical systems like in telecoms, banking and energy sectors. You will never be completely impregnable, but I think we need to be secure and as safe as we can be. That means within the government we need the system and outside the government we must reach out to the companies and individuals, to raise your security awareness in order to create a secure and trusted ICT network," Lee said.