The government of Samoa celebrated a milestone yesterday.
It was the launch of a Cyber Security Strategy for 2016-2021, which aims to ensure private information for Samoan citizens are not only protected but the privacy of Samoans remain private and confidential.
Held at the Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi (T.A.T.T.E.) Building, the occasion was attended by government officials and special guests. Chief Justice, his Honor Patu Tiava’asu’e Falefatu Sapolu was present.
Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Afamasaga Rico Tupa’i, highlighted the importance of cyber security for all citizens of Samoa.
“Our location and isolation from the big part of the world has helped keep us safe, from traditional forms of attack, our borders are well covered and well protected from the importation of guns and other weapons,” he said.
“But every day, you get a spam email on your computer. 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 from anyone from anywhere around the world at anytime.”
Afamasaga said the government is looking at capitalising on technology to grow the economy and investing in sub-marine cables is a major part of this.
For instance, the Tui-Samoa Submarine Cable is a big part of this. It is expected to be completed by the end of this year.
“Next year, we also hope to launch the Pacific Cable project. Our aim is for Samoa to be the hub of the Pacific in communication by 2020,” he said.
“All that will improve our efficiency and increase our capacity to be better and effectively communicate without cyber work.
“Internet will no longer be a luxurious reserve for only a few but it will be for any Samoa to easily access information.
“However, while we work hard to do a productive and competitive economy, our efforts are equally matched by criminals with hostile motivation. So if we are to take full advantage of new technology to drive economic growth, we need to fully understand the risk.”
Afamasaga said the launch of the Samoa National Cyber Security strategy means the government is now prioritising the safety of Samoans.
“It is an initiative to ensure that your information is safely guarded and that your privacy and security is top priority of the government,” he said.
“It’s a positive move to enable businesses and individuals to share ideas and information, and continue to innovate online with confidence and trust.”
According to Afamasaga, this is also an open invitation to other countries to bring in their businesses to Samoa.
“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 volunteers.
“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 follows. And let us all fight against cyber crime. Let us secure our cyber space for a thriving economy for our country.”