Personal Data Protection Act

What is Personal Data?
Personal data refers to data, whether true or not, about an individual who can be identified from that data; or from that data and other information to which the organisation has or is likely to have access. Personal data in Singapore is protected under the Personal Data Protection Act 2012 (PDPA).
What is the Personal Data Protection Act?
The PDPA establishes a data protection law that comprises various rules governing the collection, use, disclosure and care of personal data. It recognises both the rights of individuals to protect their personal data, including rights of access and correction, and the needs of organisations to collect, use or disclose personal data for legitimate and reasonable purposes. The PDPA provides for the establishment of a national Do Not Call (DNC) Registry. The DNC Registry allows individuals to register their Singapore telephone numbers to opt out of receiving marketing phone calls, mobile text messages such as SMS or MMS, and faxes from organisations.
Objectives of the Personal Data Protection Act
Today, vast amounts of personal data are collected, used and even transferred to third party organisations for a variety of reasons. This trend is expected to grow exponentially as the processing and analysis of large amounts of personal data becomes possible with increasingly sophisticated technology. With such a trend comes growing concerns from individuals about how their personal data is being used. Hence, a data protection regime to govern the collection, use and disclosure of personal data is necessary to address these concerns and to maintain individual trust in organisations that manage data. By regulating the flow of personal data among organisations, the PDPA also aims to strengthen and entrench Singapore competitiveness and position as a trusted, world-class hub for businesses.
How does the Personal Data Protection Act Work?
The PDPA will ensure a baseline standard of protection for personal data across the economy by complementing sector-specific legislative and regulatory frameworks. This means that organisations will have to comply with the PDPA as well as the common law and other relevant laws that are applied to the specific industry that they belong to, when handling personal data in their possession. The PDPA takes into account the following concepts: Consent: Organisations may collect, use or disclose personal data only with the individual knowledge and consent(with some exceptions). Purpose: Organisations may collect, use or disclose personal data in an appropriate manner for the circumstances, and only if they have informed the individual of purposes for the collection, use or disclosure; and Reasonableness: Organisations may collect, use or disclose personal data only for purposes that would be considered appropriate to a reasonable person in the given circumstances.
Application of the Personal Data Protection Act
The PDPA covers personal data stored in electronic and non-electronic forms. The data protection provisions in the PDPA (parts III to VI) generally do not apply to: Any individual acting in a personal or domestic basis. Any employee acting in the course of his or her employment with an organisation. Any public agency or an organisation in the course of acting on behalf of a public agency in relation to the collection, use or disclosure of the personal data. Business contact information. This refers to an individual name, position name or title, business telephone number, business address, business electronic mail address or business fax number and any other similar information about the individual, not provided by the individual solely for his or her personal purposes.