Posts in News & Events

MDIA appoints new Chief Executive Officer

October 18, 2021 Posted by News & Events 0 thoughts on “MDIA appoints new Chief Executive Officer”

The Malta Digital Innovation Authority has appointed Mr Kenneth Brincat as Chief Executive Officer of the MDIA with immediate effect.

MDIA’s new CEO Mr Kenneth Brincat

Mr Brincat holds a Master of Science Degree in Human Resources and Training from the University of Leicester and currently reading for a Doctorate in Business Administration. Previously, he held the role of Chief Operations Officer within the Malta Business Registry. For the past three years, he was responsible of overseeing the MBR’s ongoing operations and procedures, while acting as the Deputy Registrar. Mr Brincat has over 18 years of management experience.

“Having served as Chief Operations Officer of the MBR, Mr Brincat is the ideal person to enhance on the success achieved during the initial years of the MDIA. The Authority was the first of its nature worldwide in setting the standard for the digital future, and am sure that under the guidance of Mr Brincat, it will be making the necessary next steps in sustaining its position as a pioneer in technological assurance. I congratulate Mr Brincat on his new role and thank Mr Stephen McCarthy for building up the MDIA in its infancy,” said Minister for Economy and Industry Silvio Schembri.

During his tenure at the MBR, Mr Brincat spearheaded the formulation of the 5-year Strategic Plan and focused on the development of a new online platform intended to digitalise the processes related to the Agency’s work, such as the registration of new commercial partnerships and legal entities, the registration of documents related to commercial partnerships and the issuing of certified documentation.

“I am positive that Mr Brincat, with his experience in operations, management and previous project involvement will help steer the MDIA towards ensuring that Malta’s Innovative Technology Arrangement regulatory framework remains relevant, adequate and proportionate for the various related sectors, technologies and international standards and emerging regulation. I welcome Mr Brincat and look forward to working together in this direction, whilst I thank Mr Stephen McCarthy for the work undertaken within the first years of the Authority,” said MDIA’s Chairman Dr Joshua Ellul.

Opening of the MDIA’s new offices

July 23, 2020 Posted by News & Events 0 thoughts on “Opening of the MDIA’s new offices”

The Malta Digital Innovation Authority inaugurated its new offices in Mriehel on Tuesday 21 July 2020. Spread across two levels, the new state-of-the-art building is finished to the highest levels and standards.

As the authority covers a sector that is continuously evolving, it was fitting and timely for the authority to relocate its operations to a building that sufficiently caters for its roles and responsibilities. Attention was given to every little detail, including the use of the latest technology.

On Tuesday afternoon, MDIA’s Chairman Dr Joshua Ellul and Chief Executive Officer Stephen McCarthy hosted the Minister for Finance and Financial Services Edward Scicluna and Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services and Digital Economy Clayton Bartolo, for the official opening ceremony. They were given a tour around both levels together with an explanation of how MDIA staff will operate in the digital innovation sector.

Mr McCarthy said that back in 2018, the MDIA itself used to contact entities proposing the possibility of using new technologies. In 2020, it is now the other way round, as entities are increasingly reaching out to MDIA to be assisted on the use of Distributed Ledger Technologies, Artificial Intelligence and more. Whilst discussions with legislators are ongoing, he noted that the Authority’s remit will broaden much further in the coming years, as technology automation increases. Hence the new premises were a must to accomplish MDIA’s vision and welcome a new era for the authority.

Dr Ellul spoke about the technology assurance framework which the Authority developed. In doing so, the MDIA vetted, scrutinised and approved Systems Auditors, who are expected to uphold the same levels of standards and assurances in the innovative technology arrangements that they will be auditing. He remarked that innovation should not be stifled but supported, and therefore the framework is a voluntary one for non-critical systems, yet for critical systems may be a requirement mandated by another lead authority.

The Minister for Finance and Financial Services Edward Scicluna said that the Government was always at the forefront to embrace the digital economy. He remarked that there needs to be a common and coordinated front so that the digital technology is promoted in a holistic way, especially in terms of financial competitivity. The Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services and Digital Economy Clayton Bartolo mentioned how the MDIA is a crucial entity to keep the digital economy sector moving forward. He noted that in the previous months a lot of work was done so that the Authority continues to improve the digital sector and said that the successes in this sector are yet to come.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services and Digital Economy Clayton Bartolo mentioned how the MDIA is a crucial entity to keep the digital economy sector moving forward. He noted that in the previous months a lot of work was done so that the Authority continues to improve the digital sector and said that the successes in this sector are yet to come.

Malta’s National AI Strategy ranked 10th best amongst 54 countries

January 8, 2020 Posted by News & Events 0 thoughts on “Malta’s National AI Strategy ranked 10th best amongst 54 countries”

A Global AI Index carried out by Tortoise Media has ranked Malta’s National Artificial Intelligence Strategy in 10th place out of 54 countries, significantly surpassing countries such as Estonia, Sweden and Austria amongst others.

The Index investigated seven key indicators: Talent, Infrastructure, Operating Environment, Research, Development, Government Strategy and Commercial, which Malta received a very positive scoring on. The AI Index ranked Malta in 17th place when it comes to Talent, 36th and 25th in Research and Development respectively, 18th in Commercial and in 10th place in Government Strategy; with an overall ranking of 32 out of 54.

In reaction to this AI Index, Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation Silvio Schembri remarked how it has only been few months since the official launch of Malta’s National AI Strategy and yet the country has already reached the set target of putting Malta amongst the top 10 countries with a strategy for this sector. 

“The vision is for Malta to become “the Ultimate AI Launchpad” – a place in which local and foreign companies and entrepreneurs can develop, prototype, test and scale AI, and ultimately showcase the value of their innovations across an entire nation primed for adoption. The ambition is to create the conditions for AI to springboard from Malta to the world” said Schembri.

He said that the Strategy and Vision for Artificial Intelligence in Malta aim to ensure that benefits brought about by this next wave of innovation delivers benefits across all segments of Maltese society.

The Malta Digital Innovation Authority CEO Stephen McCarthy welcomed the results presented by the Global AI Index, as they give a high level of confidence as we move forward with the execution of Malta’s National AI Strategy. The MDIA has been given the role of overseeing the implementation of the same strategy.

“We have the world’s first national AI certification programme firmly in place. The certification process includes a detailed assessment carried out by registered Systems Auditors who will review the technology, in line with Malta’s Ethical AI Framework and MDIA guidelines, in order to ensure that the AI is ethically aligned, transparent and socially responsible. The process also includes a due diligence exercise on the key people in the business, to build additional layers of trust for users of the technology.” said McCarthy.

Tortoise Media has developed the Index to ensure that policy makers, entrepreneurs and the public have a solid understanding of the new technology, as this significant breakthrough has been compared to the discovery of electricity.

According to this index, the United States is the frontrunner in AI development, scoring twice as highly as second placed China, mainly due to the quality of research, talent and private funding. On the other hand, China is the fastest growing AI country, surpassing the United Kingdom.

MDIA certifies its fifth Systems Auditor

October 22, 2019 Posted by News & Events 0 thoughts on “MDIA certifies its fifth Systems Auditor”

The Malta Digital Innovation Authority (MDIA) is pleased to announce that it has officially certified Fact Technologies Ltd as its fifth Systems Auditor (SA). The Systems Auditor’s role is to audit the Innovative Technology Arrangement (ITA) that an applicant will be proposing.

The accreditation of SAs serves as a seal of approval which certifies that the service provider(s) possesses the necessary technical skills, aptitude, capability and experience to handle systems audits related to Innovative Technology Arrangements (ITAs).

The audit conducted by the SA must follow the ISAE 3000 standard, which is the standard for assurance over non-financial information, and consists of guidelines for ethical behaviour, quality management and performance. In line with the ITAS Act, the System Auditor shall nominate Subject Matter Experts to assist in specific technical fields during the System Audit. MDIA expects the Systems Auditor to have a complement of at least two Subject Matter Experts and must be recognised by the Authority as part of the Systems Auditor registration process.

This further complements MDIA’s work in terms of ITAs certification, since a solid base of Systems Auditors was established, giving prospective applicants the choice of five certified Systems Auditors. The certification of Fact Technologies Ltd follows that of PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG, BDO Technology Advisory Limited and STIS Group Ltd.

For the benefit of independent verification on each Systems Auditor’s certificate, any user can verify authenticity by matching the designated file signature (SHA512) which is also available on MDIA’s website for each awarded certificate. Furthermore, each certificate is timestamped on the public bitcoin blockchain for proof of authenticity and proof of existence in time. An OTS file is also provided for independent certificate verification using the OpenTimeStamp Protocol.

The CEO of the Malta Digital Innovation Authority Mr Stephen McCarthy commented that:

“The MDIA remains committed to protect and support all users and encourage all types of innovations, while providing assurance and ensuring trust. The rigorous certification process is one which is cryptographically verifiable and complements further the MDIA’s work in terms of promoting transparency and auditability. We are pleased that Fact Technologies Ltd has been certified as an MDIA Systems Auditor, thus supporting our efforts to ensure standards are met and consumers are protected whilst safeguarding Malta’s reputation in the use of ITAs.”

MDIA showcased Malta’s AI Strategy at World Summit AI

October 15, 2019 Posted by News & Events 0 thoughts on “MDIA showcased Malta’s AI Strategy at World Summit AI”

The Malta Digital Innovation Authority (MDIA), together with the Parliamentary Secretariat for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation, Tech.mt, and Malta Enterprise, was in Amsterdam for the World Summit AI from 9-10 October, showcasing Malta’s strategy and vision for Artificial Intelligence (AI) to key stakeholders on an international platform.

World Summit AI is one of the world’s leading events for the entire AI ecosystem, looking into the wide-ranging AI-related areas: from enterprise to big tech, startups, investors and scientists, whilst addressing the most burning issues in the field.

The participation in the summit followed the launch of the Strategy and Vision for AI in Malta 2030, by the Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation Hon Silvio Schembri during Delta Summit 2019.

MDIA CEO Stephen McCarthy commented:

“Applying a vetting process to AI software will make Malta the first country in the world to actually certify artificial intelligence as trustworthy. Software assurance is key as AI is expected to become the most transformative general purpose technology of our era. Taking our vision to the World Summit AI in Amsterdam enabled us to engage with global stakeholders to turn our vision into a reality.”

The vision is for Malta to become “The Ultimate AI Launchpad”, creating conditions for AI to springboard from Malta to the rest of the world. The Malta.AI Taskforce, chaired by MDIA CTO Wayne Grixti, together with Working Groups, and a vast array of stakeholders having an extensive range of expertise, worked towards developing a National AI Strategy that aims to create a lasting and positive impact on Malta’s citizens and businesses. The MDIA has been tasked with the responsibility for the monitoring and governance of the strategy’s implementation.

The MDIA also published a set of guidelines for public consultation at the Delta Summit, which aim at assisting Service Providers and Innovative Technology Arrangements applicants when approaching the MDIA for AI related certification. It will be the world’s first national AI certification programme aiming for AI solutions to be developed in an ethically aligned, transparent and socially responsible manner.

The consultation documents are divided into four chapters referred to as the MDIA Guidance Notes. These chapters include the AI ITA Guidelines, the AI System Auditor Control Objectives, the AI ITA Nomenclature, and the AI ITA Blueprint Guidelines.

The MDIA invites members of the public, industry and academia to provide feedback on these consultation documents. This feedback will inform the MDIA’s recommendations on Malta’s approach to establishing ethical and trustworthy AI.

The consultation period is open to the public until 01 November 2019. Interested parties are requested to submit their comments and feedback by email to info@mdia.gov.mt.

The consultation documents can be accessed here: https://mdia.gov.mt/consultation/

MDIA issues the first accreditation of Systems Auditors of Innovative Technology Arrangements

April 5, 2019 Posted by News & Events 0 thoughts on “MDIA issues the first accreditation of Systems Auditors of Innovative Technology Arrangements”

The Malta Digital Innovation Authority (MDIA), in a world first, has today, issued the accreditation of the first Systems Auditors (SAs) which applied for registration. The approved Systems Auditors will be listed on the official website of MDIA. The accreditation of SAs will serve as a seal of approval that certifies that they are fit and proper, and has the necessary technical skills, aptitude, capability as well as experience, to handle systems audits related to Innovative Technology Arrangements (ITAs).

A SA is a service provider under the Innovative Technology Arrangements and Services (ITAS) Act. Accredited Systems Auditors will carry out system reviews and will come up with an opinion on the management, security and functional correctness of ITAs. The SAs must abide by the guidelines and control objectives which are published by the MDIA. These objectives have been designed with the aim to assist the SA through an Audit Framework for ITAs. Furthermore, they build upon five key principles, being: security, processing integrity, availability, confidentiality and protection of personal data. It is through such certification by MDIA, which although not mandatory on the applicant, that a new service to operators is being provided, giving them the additional peace of mind and a certificate from a legislatively recognised European central authority.

The opinion of the Systems Auditors is key for the MDIA to issue certification to ITAs. ITA Applicants may approach the MDIA, on a voluntary basis, to certify their products to promote them to the world that they are fit for purpose and meeting the standards of the MDIA, an Authority that is a first of its kind. Through certification the Authority aims to foster safer usage and protect users of innovative technology and thus more adoption, whilst at the same time increasing the prospects for investment in innovative technology and therefore, creating solid opportunity.

Mr. Stephen McCarthy, CEO of the MDIA, commented that “this is another step in positioning Malta at the forefront of technological innovation and in creating a “cutting edge hub” for digital economy. MDIA will play an important role in instilling trust and certainty in systems governed by innovative technology. Whilst today we are listing the first SAs, in the coming weeks we will be issuing further accredited SAs once we ascertain that pending applications are fully in line with the guidelines we have issued in November. This is surely another milestone for Malta as the blockchain island”.

Launch of Consultation Process to start registering service providers and blockchain applications

October 2, 2018 Posted by News & Events 0 thoughts on “Launch of Consultation Process to start registering service providers and blockchain applications”

Launch of consultation process by Malta Digital Innovation Authority to start registering service providers and blockchain applications—“A step closer for the authority to start regulating DLT Technology” – Silvio Schembri

The Malta Digital Innovation Authority (MDIA)  has launched a consultation process to start registering service providers and to certify blockchain applications.

The consultation process will be divided into 4 stages:

  • The first consultation document published today pertains to the System Auditor Guidelines. These guidelines outline the requirements for Systems Auditors  registered with the Authority to carry out audits on blockchain applications.
  • The second consultation document is on Innovative Technology Arrangement Guidelines which sets out the requirements to certify DLT Platforms and Smart Contracts.
  • The third consultation document consists of the Technical Administrator Guidelines and outlines the requirements for the entity responsible to maintain and oversee the Technology Arrangements to safeguard user protection.
  • Lastly, the fourth consultation document relates to the Resident Agent Guidelines which obliges non-Maltese companies/individuals to engage a person residing in Malta for their operations.

Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation Silvio Schembri said that the guidelines that are now up for consultation will set the groundworks to put words into action for this new regulator to start operating effectively. “As a government we are ready to listen to what the public has to say and we are determined to strengthen what has been presented for the benefit of all.”

The Chief Executive Officer for the Malta Digital Innovation Authority Stephen McCarthy said that the guidelines will set out the proposed way of working and benchmarks for Systems Auditors, Technical Administrators, Resident Agents and for the certification of Innovate Technology Arrangements. “Undoubtedly, the introduction of these guidelines will be another milestone in establishing Malta as the blockchain island”, said McCarthy.

Throughout this extensive consultation process, the Malta Digital Innovation Authority will be seeking feedback on each chapter. The documents can be accessed at www.mdia.gov.mt.

MDIA unveiled at DELTA Summit

September 29, 2018 Posted by News & Events 0 thoughts on “MDIA unveiled at DELTA Summit”

As part of the county’s commitment to put Malta at the forefront of all technological advancements, Hon. Parliamentary Secretary Silvio Schembri, shall be unveiling the Malta Digital Innovations Authority (MDIA), for the first time at DELTA Summit – Malta’s official blockchain and digital innovations conference. Led by the new CEO, Mr.Stephen McCarthy, MDIA is the first ever Authority to be established in order to draft, regulate and manage all digital innovations.