Draft Data Protection Bill ICTA’s priority – Chairman | Daily News

Draft Data Protection Bill ICTA’s priority – Chairman

Prof. Lalith Gamage
Prof. Lalith Gamage

The Chairman of the Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) Prof. Lalith Gamage said yesterday that the Draft Data Protection Bill was ICTA’s current priority and hence establishing it will create the necessary institutional frameworks and capacity building.

The proposed Cyber Security Bill will enable the country to more effectively safeguard our digital ecosystem and enhance the way we mitigate and respond to cybersecurity threats and incidents, Chairman Gamage told ‘Daily News Business’ in what was his maiden media interview.

He said that the 2021 budget echoed ICTA’s mission to use Information Technology as a tool to simplify government mechanisms, market structures and processes, with a view to ensuring efficient, people-centric service delivery and exchange of knowledge. The budget also stated that the high-speed data exchange system and related mobile network systems are investment priorities alongside the establishment of international e-commerce and e-payment systems.

The establishment of new laws and organizational structures in relation to data protection, cybersecurity and intellectual property rights also remain top priorities, and ICTA has extensive plans to drive these changes.

They have already drawn up plans for the multi-faceted digital governance architecture, i.e. foundation, shared solutions, Line of Business solutions, common access and users. While the Foundation layer is ICTA’s sole responsibility, they will work with various partners in implementing the other layers. With the setup of the Lanka Government network and the Lanka Government Cloud, where solutions for all state organizations would be stored, the foundation layer is already in process. The Agency is now at the stage of developing the National Data Exchange (NDX), which will complete the foundation layer.

Professor Gamage says that the NDX alone will cover so much ground in terms of achieving ICTA’s mission. “Once the NDX is developed, state organizations will be able to collaborate and share key information to carry out their functions. For example, someone needing an identity card or passport in the current scenario has to go to several government institutions i.e. the Grama Sevaka, passport office, registrar’s office, back to the Grama Sevaka, etc., to get the job done. With NDX, the issuing department would be able to access all relevant information, even data owned by other state departments to handle the task at hand.”

The Chairman adds that the NDX will help to digitally recognize and validate the identity of people. “For example, if a Sri Lankan citizen wishes to obtain their drivers’ license, the application can be filled online and the relevant government organization will have access to all necessary data to confirm the applicant’s identity and eligibility to process the application.”