The truth is easy enough to see. We live in a world that’s getting smaller and smaller by the day. Even on these remote shores, accessibility to everything and anything has never been easier.
Things that used to take months and years to get done are now only taking a couple of days – in some cases a couple of seconds.
A trip around the world, which would usually take several weeks, can now be reduced to a few days thanks to the availability of super fast jumbo jets and the like.
In terms of communication, the availability of the Internet has literally transformed the world into one global village. Samoa today is very much part of that technological village thanks to the government’s ongoing efforts to keep us abreast with the rest of the developing world.
Nowadays at the touch of a button, you can see the other side of the world; you can now send information within milliseconds.
We can now speak face-to-face through video chat programmes to our friends and families anywhere. What’s more, we can meet people from any corner of the world, virtually, and exchange new thoughts on issues of the day.
Once upon a time, one had to access a computer and a secured landline to be able to enjoy these services. At another point in time, we all remember the phone booths in Apia where the queue of people can hear you asking a relative in New Zealand for some money. Those were tough times.
Not anymore. Mobile phone developments and wireless technology is changing the world in much bigger ways. Consider the rural areas of Samoa that previously didn’t have access to phones and internet services.
With the arrival of Digicel, Bluesky and the introduction of Internet on mobile phones, now anyone with access to a cellphone signal can get lightning fast speed. Just about everyone nowadays has a mobile phone. Some people believe it or not have two or three depending on which girlfriend is calling on which phone.
The availability of these technological advances have brought many wonderful benefits. It means students can easily research information, parents can keep in touch with their friends and small businesses can be competitive in a global market place.
The things that were quite impossible many years ago have become a breeze.
What’s scary is that technology keeps evolving. It gets better and better. There is a new gadget that’s being introduced to the world on a daily basis, which changes the way we do things.
If you closely observe how the world is at the moment, it’s like it is being compressed to a one-size fits all package. And as impossible as it may seem, we’ve seen how far the world has developed to this day that nothing is impossible.
But with every good development, there are always negative sides. And when it comes to the threat of cyber crimes, it is one of the least discussed topic with people becoming so caught up in the hype of technology.
This is why the launch of a Cyber Security Strategy for 2016-2021 by the government yesterday is important. Everyone needs to know they are protected.
The Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Afamasaga Rico Tupa’i, is well aware of the dangers.
“Every day, you get a spam email on your computer,” he said. “And every hour of the day, there is a virus attached to your computer system. And millions of credit cards have been stolen.
“We are not immune to cyber attack ladies and gentlemen. We can be attacked by anyone from anywhere around the world at anytime.”
We couldn’t agree more. We believe as well as encouraging the use of wonderful internet technology, our people should also be educated about this danger. Because no one is immune.
And the Minister makes a very good point.
“While we work hard to do a productive and competitive economy, our efforts are equally matched by criminals with hostile motivations,” he said.
“So if we are to take full advantage of new technology to drive economic growth, we need to fully understand the risks.”
Afamasaga said the launch of the Samoa National Cyber Security strategy means the government is placing cyber safety first.
“It’s a positive move to enable businesses and individuals to share ideas and information, and continue to innovate online with confidence and trust,” he said.
“It’s a working manual that will demonstrate to the world, that we are open for business and that you can safely operate business in our country.”
Finally, he reminded everyone that the government cannot do at it alone and that many hands make light work.
“These cyber attacks require a comprehensive and a cooperative response, between government, private sector, and individuals.
“We all need to play a part by fostering understanding of cyber security issues and promoting good practice so that is a big part of this strategy.
“I challenge all of you today, and your patriotism, that after you study our plan, and think you can help, please volunteer.
“I challenge the government agencies and the communication sector to not let this booklet be a dust collector on your shelves or a decorator for your desk. It’s a working manual and let us develop the actions and follow. And let us all fight against cyber crime. Let us secure our cyber space for a thriving economy for our country.”
Well done, Minister Afamasaga! Now let’s put those words into action and turn that book into something meaningful to protect us all.
Have a fabulous Thursday Samoa, God bless!