Bahrain to ‘regulate cyber security in different sectors’
Manama, August 14, 2014
Bahrain needs to establish a unified body to regulate cyber security in different sectors, including telecommunication and banking, according to a report.
Consultancy firm Strategy& in co-operation with the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) yesterday released a report titled ‘Rethinking ICT (Information and Communications Technology) Regulation: Regulators' essential role in capturing the full potential of the ICT sector’.
The 24-page document details the current global trends in telecommunication regulation, comparing Bahrain with the UK, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Singapore, reported the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
The report stated that Bahrain needs to improve in several areas, including security, developing the regulatory framework and easing restrictions on trade among telecom firms, despite it being one of the leading ICT economies in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region and ranked among the top 30 nations in the world.
"TRA has played an active role in shaping the country's ICT landscape.
"However, the focus continues to be on defining the communications market. Supply remains integrated and there is a high level of support for national ICT suppliers."
It states that in countries where the ICT markets are well regulated, companies have the ability to trade paving the path for fairer competition, but in Bahrain the focus on profits has become detrimental to the evolution of the ICT infrastructure.
"Spectrum availability continues to be limited and spectrum trading is not yet allowed," said the report.
"On consumer welfare, the focus is on ensuring service affordability, with limited emphasis on consumer privacy.
"A national cyber security policy is in its infancy, although there is a strong cyber security certification programme.
"There is no unified agency to promote cyber security across all ICT assets."
The report has urged the region's governments, including Bahrain, to play an active role in monitoring emerging digital markets, supporting national ICT players, and mandating customer welfare practices across usage, security, privacy and environmental dimensions.
"The way forward for regulators in the Mena region's ICT sector is one in which they will bring to bear their skills and knowledge in market-making and addressing market failure, and it should extend to new, emerging digital markets," added the report.
"They will have to identify, adapt and apply the best regulatory practices from around the world in ways that efficiently satisfy consumer and national interests at home." - TradeArabia News Service