IMDA and Amazon announce collaboration to promote digital skills

By Sol Gonzalez

The Digital for Life movement includes community workshops to enhance digital inclusion and increase awareness of safe online shopping.

From Left - Melody Xu, Senior Executive, Club Rainbow; Richard Goh, Head of Strategic Initiatives, Public Sector Singapore, AWS; Shirley Tay, Head of Finance and Administration, Club Rainbow; Peter Li, Director, CN & SG, International Stores, Amazon; Doreen Tan, Assistant Chief Executive, Strategic Planning & Digital Readiness, Infocomm Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA); Josen George, General Manager for Amazon APAC; Sujit Misra, Director, Amazon Payments; Dr Shang Gao, Regional Director for Global Education, AWS; Eleanor Tan, Senior Executive (Outreach and Development), Children's Wishing Well. Image: Amazon.

The Infocomm Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA) and Amazon have announced a partnership to promote digital inclusion under the government’s Digital for Life movement.  

IMDA will support community workshops conducted by corporate volunteers from Amazon to increase awareness of safe online shopping practices, protection against frauds, and familiarisation with new technologies. 

The workshops will be co-curated, building on IMDA’s Digital Skills for Life (DSL) competencies on secure transactions and digital literacy, said IMDA’s Strategic Planning and Digital Readiness Assistant Chief Executive, Doreen Tan.  

Amazon Singapore has donated S$100,000 to the Digital for Life Fund and the Singapore Government will do a dollar-for-dollar donation match to support the initiatives under the movement.  

The movement is a response to the rise in the number of scams in 2023 that had affected youths and adults under the age of 50. The objective is to educate this demographic on the best practices that are required to safely shop and make payments online. 

Digital skills for a digital future 

The Digital for Life movement will include digital literacy workshops on Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI), conducted by Amazon Web Services (AWS). 

“As technology advances, bad actors will continue to find new ways to take advantage of communities,” said Amazon APAC’s General Manager Josen George. He added that extensive education on technology is essential for consumers to protect themselves from frauds. 

The GenAI education workshops aim to highlight the function of these technologies and educate consumers on their responsible and safe use of AI tools. 

With these initiatives parked under the AWS AI Spring Singapore programme which aims to encourage adoption of AI, this programme focuses on community development with AI to enhance digital skills and train 5,000 individuals annually from 2024 to 2026. 

Safe shopping, secure transactions 

The community workshops seek to increase awareness of safe online shopping practices and transactions using digital payments, George said. 

The contents of the workshops are designed to boost digital skills among vulnerable communities. This includes teaching basic skills on how to use digital payment methods such as PayNow. 

This is to ensure “no one is left behind and everyone can enjoy the benefits of the digital age,” said Tan. 

Approximately 67 per cent of consumers in Singapore use e-commerce apps to shop online, according to YouGov research. The widespread adoption of online shopping calls for education on how to operate safely in these platforms, Tan added. 

The workshops are to be conducted in September, with the collaboration of nonprofits including Children’s Wishing Well, Club Rainbow, and Glyph Community.  

Fighting against frauds 

With the increasing number of scam cases in Singapore, Amazon and IMDA seek to widespread education on scam signs and practices to ensure safe transactions online. 

Cybercrime cases in Singapore increased by 46.8 per cent from 2022 to 2023, the Singapore Police Force reported. Out of all scam victims in 2023, 73 per cent of them were adults under the age of 50.  

This collaboration with IMDA comes as Amazon becomes the Vice-chair of the Global Anti-Scam Alliance (GASA) Chapter for Singapore, announced last month. The GASA chapter is to collaborate across industries to help consumers in Singapore stay safe against scams. 

Additionally, as achieved the highest rating in Singapore’s e-commerce transaction safety ratings (TSR) earlier this year, ensuring safety for consumers is the “top priority” in Amazon, George said.