ETDA ploughs ahead with digital mission

ETDA ploughs ahead with digital mission

The Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA) has vowed to push ahead with a regulatory system for digital certificate issuers and digital identification service as key missions next year.

Digital certificate issuers, known as Certification Authority (CA), act as a third party to help confirm authenticity of digital signatures, servers and entities.

The mechanism is meant to facilitate business operation, boost their competitiveness and help forge technical collaboration between service providers.

The Digital ID service requires a reliable and secure system, and needs to support other new technologies, such as blockchain.

ETDA chief executive Surangkana Wayuparb said the amendment to the Electronic Transaction Act earlier this year gives the agency more responsibility, which is entering its 10th year of operation.

ETDA will be responsible for ironing out the necessary standards to support electronic transactions and digital identification, she said, adding regulations governing them are also needed.

There is a need to enhance the qualifications of digital service providers and improve coordination between service providers in terms of technical operations, said Mrs Surangkana.

She said ETDA needs to reshape its structure, work and projects to meet the role stipulated under the act.

New technologies and online platforms can be capitalised on to enhance the living standards of Thais, narrow the income gap and increase new income streams, particularly for local communities and small and medium-sized enterprises, said Mrs Surangkana.

"The e-commerce market in Thailand registered double-digit growth year-on-year, and is also rising rapidly in neighbouring markets," she said.

ETDA is studying new digital technology trends and issuing important recommendations about them, including guidelines for the use of new tech and how to come up with prototypes and sandboxes.

"Over the past nine years, a lot of work has been carried out to support the economy and society," said Mrs Surangkana.

"Data analytics was one of the very first tasks pursued by ETDA."

Data compiled for analysis includes e-commerce, internet usage behaviour, e-payments, e-trading and other services, she said.

"Gathering big data should be a boon for policymaking. To move in the right direction, we need to know where we are and what the facts are," said Mrs Surangkana.

"We need to know the number of entrepreneurs and shops operational on online platforms and their income."

According to a recent ETDA survey, Thais spend an average of 10 hours and five minutes per day online, and online shopping is in the top five online activities for two years in a row.

This trend must be taken into account by governmental organisations, collaborating in response to changes in the era of digital disruption, she said.

Another crucial task pursued by ETDA is to lay out digital infrastructure foundations for Thailand, particularly related to legal issues.

In terms of e-commerce promotion, the agency is gearing up efforts to boost confidence among businesses and the public sector in terms of e-commerce's potential, said Mrs Surangkana.

This can be done through educational institutions as students will drive online commerce in the future.

She said her agency is working with Srinakharinwirot University to promote e-commerce business and it plans to expand to other universities.

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