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TrustTech: Building a Safer Digital Nation, One Step at a Time

August 27, 2023 Ignacio "Toting" Bunye 305 views

Ignacio BunyeIn an era where nearly every aspect of our lives has gone digital, from financial transactions to online shopping, the convenience of the digital space is undeniable. However, with this surge in digital interaction comes a parallel rise in cyber scams that threaten to undermine our trust in these systems. Acknowledging this challenge, the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), in collaboration with Digital Pilipinas, has taken a bold step towards enhancing the nation’s cybersecurity through the TrustTech movement—a collective effort aimed at instilling confidence in individuals and businesses within the Philippine digital landscape.

The movement’s inaugural event, the TrustTech Conference: Emerging Trends in Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection, marked a significant milestone. Held on July 28, 2023, at the luxurious Shangri-La The Fort in Taguig City, the conference unveiled a comprehensive approach to bolstering cybersecurity.

Congressman Irwin C. Tieng, Chair of the House of Representatives Committee on Banks and Financial Intermediaries, opened the conference by delving into the Anti-Financial Account Scamming Act (AFASA), legislation designed to penalize those involved in money mule operations, social engineering ploys, and economic sabotage. “The AFASA,” he emphasized, “marks a pivotal stride in our battle against financial cybercrimes.” However, more than just legal measures, a collaborative effort between the government and private sector is imperative to enforce policies and promptly share information on emerging threats. Congressman Tieng noted, “Preventing cyber-attacks not only cultivates consumer trust but also fuels business growth and economic prosperity.”

Amor Maclang, who leads Digital Pilipinas, shared, “In response to the President’s strong push to prevent financial crimes, which he has identified as a top-priority law-making effort, TrustTech was born. With the help of the national government, we’re excited to create partnerships that bring together different countries and regions, working together to build a digital way of life that’s secure for everyone.”

Secretary of Justice Jesus Crispin Remulla, in his keynote address, underscored the government’s multifaceted initiatives against cybercrime, citing the AFASA alongside the SIM Registration Act and campaigns to raise public awareness about cyber risks and best practices. He stressed the pivotal role of collaboration: “Public-private partnerships have the potential to harness expertise and resources from both realms to craft innovative solutions, exchange intelligence, and respond effectively to cyber threats.”

BPI’s President and CEO, TG Limcaoco, echoed this sentiment, highlighting the importance of building trust and forging reliable relationships across the digital spectrum. Limcaoco emphasized TrustTech’s potential to reshape how individuals and businesses navigate digital environments, suggesting that through technological advancements, robust security protocols, and consumer protection, an ecosystem can be cultivated that fosters trust, fuels innovation, and sustains growth.

The TrustTech Conference delved into the complexities surrounding trust in an increasingly digital world. The lineup included speakers from the Global Fintech Institute (GFI), such as David Lee, a prominent professor at the Singapore University of Social Sciences, and Chia Hock Lai, Co-founder of GFI and the Singapore Fintech Association. The event also featured panel discussions involving government officials, international representatives, and private sector experts.

Amidst the backdrop of the Philippines’ significant digital payment growth—accounting for 42% of total retail payments in 2022, as per the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP)—platforms like the TrustTech conference emerge as crucial arenas for sharing best practices and policies that act as deterrents to cybercriminals. TrustTech embodies a unified approach to combatting cyber scams, with a focus on public education, robust policies for business and consumer protection, and a collaborative front against digital threats. By doing so, TrustTech empowers both businesses and consumers to trust and embrace digital technology confidently.

For BPI, cybersecurity takes center stage in its digitalization journey, ensuring a secure, seamless customer experience. The bank’s dedication is evident in its investment in cutting-edge technology, process enhancements, and employee training—promoting privacy and cybersecurity. Furthermore, BPI collaborates with the government, media, and industry bodies to educate clients about the latest cyber schemes through informative campaigns.

Crucially, TrustTech enjoys the backing of vital government entities, including the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC), the National Privacy Commission (NPC), the National Security Council (NSC), and the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG).

The TrustTech Conference serves as a catalyst for a series of upcoming initiatives, uniting diverse stakeholders to empower Filipinos in the digital realm. This movement aligns with the country’s broader digital transformation, sharing technologies, practices, and solutions that establish and nurture trust, security, and integrity in the digital ecosystem. Through TrustTech, a more cyber-secure and confident Philippine digital nation is on the horizon.