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Thursday July 18th, 2024

Sri Lanka says measures taken to ensure digital security of Indian-funded unique ID project

Sri Lanka has already taken measures to ensure the digital security of a unique identity card project funded by India, top officials who are directly involved in the project said.

The decision to award the tender to print digital ID cards for an Indian firm has raised concerns over data privacy of Sri Lankan citizens and protection of personal data.

“We have approval from the parliament for the Data Protection Act. We are going to form the Data Protection Authority probably this month,” Technology Minister Kanaka Herath told reporters on Wednesday (06).

“We are also working on the CyberSecurity Act and it is to be finished by the end of this year,” he said when the media questioned the digital security measures the government authorities had taken on the unique ID.

India has already given an advance aid of 450 million Indian rupees to President Wickremesinghe’s government to fund its digital identity project, which aims to collect biographic and biometric information, including facial, iris, and fingerprint data.

The project is expected to store the personal data of every individual in a centralised system to issue identification cards as per the standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), government officials have said, to effective and efficient delivery of government services, financial inclusion, and poverty reduction.

An Indo-Sri Lanka Joint Project Monitoring Committee (JPMC) has already been appointed to oversee the progress of the project.

Jayasiri Amarasena, a member of the technical evaluation committee for the Unique ID project and the former CEO of the country’s National Centre for Cyber Security Sri Lanka CERT said steps are in place to ensure digital security of the unique ID.

“In terms of security and data exfiltration, we have taken all the necessary measures. One thing is the data will not be in plain format. It will be in an encrypted format and that encryption is controlled by us,” Amarasena told reporters.

“Then the system is such that we have a perimeter defence where there will be no intrusion. It will not allow any intrusion. We will test for backdoors. So those technical measures will be in place to ensure the security of our own data and that cannot be breached by the country which is helping us or any other country.” (Colombo/September 06/2023)

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Sri Lanka to conduct threat assessments for presidential candidates

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s President Ranil Wickremesinghe has submitted a cabinet paper proposing security measures for presidential candidates and former presidents, following the recent attack on former US President Donald Trump during a campaign rally in the USA.

“This proposal suggests the appointment of a committee to conduct threat assessments and provide necessary security for Presidential candidates as well as former Presidents,” a statement from his media division said.

The committee will include the Secretary of the Ministry of Public Security as Chair, the Chief of Defence Staff, the Inspector General of Police, the Chief of National Intelligence, and the Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police/Elections.

A Deputy Inspector General of Police will be appointed to oversee all security arrangements.

The committee and the designated officer will work closely with the Election Commission to ensure seamless coordination of security arrangements, the PMD said.

After today, July 17, Sri Lanka’s Election Committee is empowered to announce a date for the presidential polls due to be held this year.

Minister of Foreign Affairs M U M Ali Sabry has said the election will be held on October 5 or 12.

Members of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) have said that the government should be accountable for the security of Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa, the SJB’s presidential candidate. (Colombo/Jul17/2024)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes flat at 303.80/304.00 to US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed almost flat at 303.80/304.00 to the US dollar on Wednesday, from 303.70/304.00 to the US dollar on Tuesday, dealers said, while bond yields were down.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2026 closed at 10.60/75 percent, down from 10.82/92 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2027 closed at 11.60/38 percent, down from 11.65/75 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.05.2028 closed at 11.72/78 percent, down from 11.80/90 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2029 closed at 12.05/10 percent, down from 12.05/20 percent. (Colombo/Jul17/2024)

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Sri Lanka stocks close down, John Keells, Hemas, Hayleys push turnover

ECONOMYNEXT – The Colombo Stock Exchange closed down on Wednesday, data on its site showed.

The broader All Share Index closed down 0.41 percent, or 48.44 points, at 11,830; while the more liquid S&P SL20 Index closed down 0.52 percent, or 17.91 points, at 3,456.

Turnover was 1.2 million. A big part of this (Rs597mn) came from John Keells Holdings Plc (down at 194.25).

“There was foreign buying interest on John Keells and Hemas,” Softlogic Stockbrokers said.

“We saw foreign interest in selective counters persist.”

Hemas Holdings Plc contributed Rs143mn to the turnover, and the share closed down at 81.10.

Hayleys Plc contributed Rs156mn to the turnover, and the share closed up at 101.50.

The three crossings made up 67 percent of the turnover.

The capital goods counters, with all the bluechips, was the leading sector contributing to the day’s turnover.

With the exception of Hayleys and a couple of other companies, the counter saw most stocks close down or flat.

Sentiment around the banking counters also remained negative.

“The volatility in investor sentiments persisted. There are a lot of spectators in the market over the last few weeks, despite some positive news coming in.”

Treasury bill and bond rates have also dropped.

The top contributors to the ASPI were Melstacorp Plc (up at 86.00), SMB Finance Plc (up at 0.70), and TeeJay Lanka Plc (up at 40.00).

There was a net foreign inflow of 392 million. (Colombo/Jul17/2024)

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