SINGAPORE (Dec 31): Discussions about the effects of digital technology on the economy and society have lately tended to focus on the negative. But it would be a mistake to let the risks associated with digital technology obscure its potential to make the world better, not least by supporting more inclusive growth.

To be sure, the potential risks are profound. The recent best-selling novel by former US president Bill Clinton and novelist James Patterson, The President is Missing, is based on the plausible conjecture that data on computers and servers could be destroyed on a massive scale, bringing all modern economies to a sudden stop. Given such threats, policies involving cross-border technology transfer and investment now account for digital technologies’ cybersecurity implications, not to mention their potential military and defence applications.

Questions about data security extend far beyond national security, with many increasingly concerned about privacy and protection of their personal information. This has spurred efforts to tighten regulations.

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