Data Protection in Singapore

In a reply to a question in parliament last month, Minister for Information, Communication and the Arts Lee Boon Yang said that the government was studying the introduction of data protection legislation, but this was a “complex issue” and the “review will take some time.” (Follow links for Straits Times report and extract from Hansard.)

As it turns out, the government really has been reviewing Privacy (sometimes known as Data Protection) legislation in Singapore for a v..e..r..y long time – 20 years in fact. Way back in 1989/90, the Singapore Academy of Law sub-committee on Technology and Law recommended that Singapore adopt Data Protection legislation modelled after that in Europe, Japan and other developed countries. Newspaper reports here. A summary of the sub-committee’s report is here while the full Working Paper is here (long). 

Obviously, no Privacy Laws were adopted, though the issue has bubbled back up to the surface several times. For example in 2002, then again in 2006, when Lee Boon Yang said that an inter-Ministerial committee had been formed and would make its recommendations in the middle of that year.

2 thoughts on “Data Protection in Singapore

  1. I have long given up the hope of our “esteemed” government adopting the Data Protection legislation modelled after that in Europe, Japan and other developed countries.

    Not to forget , our “esteemed” government is the biggest collector of digital info on Singaporeans. Why on earth does she want to pass legislation to restrict herself to collect it? Doesn’t make sense at all!!

    Please refer to attached URL for details.

    Click to access SingNet_Disclosure_of_End_User_Service_Information.pdf

    Just remember the above story is half truth. There is more to it than meet the eyes.

  2. See also this story in zdnet asia,3800007710,62050547,00.htm

    Quoting Joshua Chua, Deloitte & Touche’s security and privacy leader for risk consulting in Southeast Asia, “First, unlike markets such as Hong Kong, Japan and the United States, Singapore does not have an overarching data protection or privacy law, nor is privacy protected under the constitution or general law.”…
    “Singapore can learn from Hong Kong’s example, where data breaches were occurring in spite of the existence of a data protection law and the Privacy Commissioner’s Office. It was only after several serious data breaches that the Office finally got to receive the necessary funding and enforcement power to do its job, and this subsequently led to a safer environment in terms of data privacy and protection,” Chua said, adding that the Office not only issued specific guidelines for incident management but also conducted inspections of companies that had breached data security regulations, scrutinizing their incident management and reporting procedures.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s