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Singapore – Firms Warned Against ‘Over-Collection’ Of Personal Data.

3 February, 2015

 


Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) has warned against the “over-collection” of data about individuals following the entry into force of new regulations.

PDPC’s director of communications, planning and policy Evelyn Goh said in a letter to The Straits Times that “organisations should take security measures to protect personal data in their possession or control, which is one of the obligations under the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA)”.

 

However, Goh said “organisations should also ensure that they do not over-collect personal data during the verification process”.

 

“When providing customer support services, organisations may request that customers provide certain personal data in order to verify their identities,” Goh said. “As a good practice, organisations should explain to their customers… the purposes for which they require their personal data.”

 

Under the PDPA, which came fully into effect in July 2014 following a transitional period, organisations must make information about their personal data protection policies, practices and complaint processes available on request. The PDPC said it has been informing organisations of their obligations under the PDPA through briefings, workshops and seminars over the past 18 months.

 

Data protection law expert Bryan Tan of Pinsent Masons MPillay said: “Over-collection is a fairly common struggle most organisations breaking from the habit cultivated from a cheap storage and just in case approach. However, when benchmarked against regulatory cost and the risk posed by such stockpiles of personal data, the usefulness of such excessive data could be called into question.”

 

A survey conducted by the PDPC in 2014 suggested as many as half of Singaporean businesses were not prepared for the new regime. The survey was conducted between February and April. At that stage 70% of respondents said they were aware of their obligations under the PDPA and 70% also agreed that compliance with the new rules would “result in building consumer confidence”.

 

Pinsent Msaons MPillay

 

For further information, please contact:

 

Marc Dautlich, Partner, Pinsent Masons

marc.dautlich@pinsentmasons.com

 

Cerys Wyn Davies, Partner, Pinsent Masons

cerys.wyn-davies@pinsentmasons.com

 

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