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Address By Mr. Abdul Mutalib Yusof, Permanent Secretary, Ministry Of Communications, Brunei Darussalam, Plenary Session 3: “Strengthening Cross-Border Cooperation” Of The Seoul Conference On Cyberspace, 17 – 18 October 2013, Seoul, Korea

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17 – 18 OCTOBER 2013,





1. Excellencies, Ministers, ladies & gentlemen, a very good afternoon. I would like to share with you some of our perspectives with respect to this session’s theme ‘Strengthening Cross-Border Cooperation’.


2. With technological development of ICT, movement of people and goods, seamless transmission of data and information, the need for cross-border cooperation has never been more apparent. Let me relate this to the context of SOCIAL MEDIA. The immense and rapid growth of SOCIAL MEDIA in the last couple of years has been phenomenal. It is inevitable and I will leave with you some facts to think about over the next few minutes:-


    1. Over 100 million people use Instagram every month[1];
    2. Twitter has over 200m active users every month [2];
    3. WhatsApp has 300m active users, with 11billion messages sent and 20billion messages received daily[3].


3. These numbers are growing as we speak and these are enough to show us how communications and human interactions have transcended beyond borders. Brunei Darussalam is no exception. The usage of WhatsApp has been estimated to reach about 70 percent across the entire population of Brunei, and this is not even limited to residents who have smartphones[4].

4. Just to give you some context, Brunei is a small country with a population of just under 400,000 and an average annual population growth rate of about 1.7 percent. Our current per capita income is about 24,000 USD and average GDP growth rate of 2 percent. Our mobile telephony subscribers have reached a penetration of 100% since 2008 and now growing to 120 percent as we speak. We have just started to roll-out a high speed broadband fixed line last mile initiative, FTTH early last year with a target of reaching 70% of 65,000 households in Brunei Darussalam by end of 2014. At the same time, our mobile broadband network will also be enhanced with the roll-out of 4G LTE services starting late this year. The challenge however, is NOT the infrastructure issues, but with all these new technological advancements, comes the main challenge of CONTENT. All works of life, different ages, young and old will now have access to what we call the www world of the Internet! We are talking about our communities of cyberspace….


Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

5. Having considered the above points, cross-border cooperation is therefore needed to counter challenges faced by these cyberspace communities. The consequences arising from the misuse of ICT are very significant. Brunei Darussalam regards this matter seriously and only last year, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, who is also the Prime Minister, called on the need to increase our capacity and awareness in monitoring, prevention and enforcement with respect to positive use of the Internet.

6. The role of all stakeholders, such as parents, teachers, society and the users themselves are also emphasised. In August this year (2013), His Majesty further stated that any negativity arising from ICT usage must be stopped and countered. This leads to my key point on Cybersecurity and Cybersafety.

7. Norton Cybercrime Report 2011 revealed that 10 percent of adults who go online have experienced cybercrime on their mobile phones[5]. The cases of mobile vulnerabilities are also found to be 42% higher in 2010 than it was in 2009[6]. With our high mobile phone penetration and active mobile broadband users, these findings show us clear concerns that need to be addressed globally.

8. On Cybersafety, young children and youths are notably high users of ICT. They are however, among the most vulnerable group of users. According to the ITU: -

  • Around 90% of teens and young adults use the Internet.
  • Over 60% of children and teenagers talk in chat rooms on a daily basis.
  • 3 in 4 children online are willing to share personal information about themselves and their family in exchange for goods and services.
  • 1 in 5 children will be targeted by a predator or paedophile each year.


9. This is a reality that is happening and Brunei Darussalam regards this matter very seriously. The Government and other relevant stakeholders have taken several steps in response to this issue, such as:-

    1. The formation of the Content Advisory Panel with the cooperation of various relevant agencies. This Panel considers regulatory, enforcement and content management issues in Brunei Darussalam. This panel also makes policy recommendations, guidelines and codes of conduct for media or what is now called New Media content.
    2.  Brunei Darussalam supports the Child Online Protection (COP) initiated by ITU. We are now developing a Child Online Protection (COP) Framework to address internet-related crimes that are targeting those who are young and vulnerable within the society. This step is to counter recent cases where ICT has been made as the medium by online predators.
    3. Since 2009, the Government and the private sector have been organizing cyber security and Internet etiquette seminars to students, parents and teachers nationwide. Ultimately, the cybersecurity awareness program will be included in the educational curriculum.
    4. The Government and other stakeholders also started a Cyber Security Awareness Week last year and this will be an annual event. The participating stakeholders include the Royal Brunei Police Force and the Ministry Culture, Youth and Sports, and the private sectors among others.

10. Close collaboration among various agencies, between the Government, the private sector and the public, is the key approach in mitigating implications arising from cybersecurity and cybersafety threats. In this context, Brunei Darussalam has established an agency called BruCERT in May 2004.

11. BruCERT works closely with the local and international CSIRTs, network service providers, security vendors, government agencies as well as other related organizations to facilitate the detection, analysis and prevention of security incidents on the internet.[7]

12. Brunei Darussalam also values the collaborative ties established between regional and international CERTs and monitoring agencies. These collaborations are crucial in enforcing the international reporting lines and standards while managing cross-border threats.

13. In the area of Public Key Infrastructure (PKI), I wish to share with you that the PKI Masterplan has just been concluded early this year. As a follow-up, the Government is currently conducting a policy review on the institutional and operational framework of PKI for Brunei Darussalam.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

14. With the depth and intricacies of issues in cyberspace, Brunei Darussalam looks at regional and international best practices in the management of both opportunities and threats. To work alone in the cyberspace is just impossible. To complement our national initiatives, we are also actively engaging regional and international collaboration.

15. Hence, before i conclude my address, i would like to share my thoughts on the three following points for consideration:

    1. Firstly, to strengthen co-operation and exchange programs including a capacity building for the relevant stakeholders including CERTs, authorities and security agencies among others;
    2. Secondly, to establish Cybersecurity International Guidelines for Regulators and Operators. This could be done through an iterative process between Government, Industry, Academia and the Public; and
    3. Thirdly, to share best practices for positive use of the Internet for Users or as Secretary Willam Hague of the United Kindgom stated this morning, a set of standards for behavior.


16. To conclude, we look forward to having such collaborative opportunities gained from this conference today. Let us hope the conference will bring us a set of good practice guidelines and very focused resolutions on addressing issues pertaining to cyberspace and cybersecurity. Let’s make it happen!

17. Thank you.




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Created at 05/12/2015 11:10 AM by Siti Hawa binti Aboo Samah
Last modified at 05/12/2015 11:10 AM by Siti Hawa binti Aboo Samah