Vice-President Vincent Meriton’s message on the occasion of ICT Week (WTISD-2017) |17 May 2017
‘Beware of the dangers in the realm of ICT’
“Let us make it our responsibility to inform and educate ourselves and our children on how to protect ourselves and our personal information while we are online,” says Vice-President Vincent Meriton in his message on the occasion of ICT Week.
The full text of Mr Meriton’s message reads:
“On this May 17, we join the global community in celebrating the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD).
“This day helps to raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of the internet and other information and communication technologies (ICT) can bring to societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge the digital divide.
“This year’s theme ‘Big Data for Big Impact’ explores the power of large data sets for development as well as the benefits from analysing the patterns and trends, especially relating to human behaviour that exists in the enormous amount of information that is generated every day.
“We should all be excited about big data and its use because the potential for impact can be big. We have seen already its use in the digital world and have enjoyed the many improvements it has made in our lives. Indeed, big data is the source of all administrative records, which include bank or electronic medical records. It has revolutionised the way we shop by facilitating commercial transactions such as online purchases or credit card transactions. Big data is also generated from the sensors and tracking devices in our mobile phones and GPS devices and from the activities we carry out on the Internet including searches and social media content.
“What is so exciting about big data is that new data is being created every day by the billions of people using ICT devices. And it is only now that researchers and policymakers are beginning to realise the potential for channeling these torrents of data into actionable information that can be used to identify needs, provide services, and predict and prevent disasters for the benefit of populations.
“Seychelles is keenly aware of the development opportunities that lie ahead. The insight brought about by the analysis of big data will enable evidence-based decision-making at national, regional and international levels and help the implementation of all United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the 2030 agenda.
“But in order to maximise the potential, we need concerted action to ensure that the data that is generated is used in a positive manner. We are already in the process of examining how we collect and process data to ensure that our people benefit from the information that they are generating.
“I am also pleased to say that government will soon be putting in place the regulatory structures to encourage private enterprise to share data and pilot new ways of working. More emphasis will be put on development and adoption of new methods that have the potential for improving the frequency, reliability, accessibility, affordability and usefulness of data.
“A critical issue that should not be overlooked however is the need for developing security frameworks that protect the privacy of individuals without hampering life-saving uses of data. The recent cyber attacks that targeted developed as well as developing countries, including health services and businesses worldwide, should remind us that there are individuals out there who will not hesitate to use the internet and its potential for unscrupulous purposes.
“I would therefore like to remind everyone of the dangers that exist in the realm of ICT. Let us make it our responsibility to inform and educate ourselves and our children on how to protect ourselves and our personal information while we are online. I would also urge all government entities as well as private organisations including businesses to ensure that they stay up to date with the latest development in the ICT sector. Let us not hesitate to seek advice and assistance from the DICT, to ensure that we all stay safe. But let us also take the small steps to protect ourselves, like installing antivirus software, guarding our personal information, not over sharing and having strong passwords.
“As we commemorate this year’s ICT Week, let us all remember that for every new opportunity that is created online, there can be a corresponding threat. It is up to every one of us to ensure that we do not fall prey to online scammers or hackers. Let us therefore put in place safeguards for our computers, our mobile devices and our personal information with the same zeal that we protect our possessions in our homes. For it is only by taking personal and collective responsibility that we can enjoy the benefits of ICT in our lives.”