Singapore's data privacy watchdog fielded nearly 3,000 cases in 2018: S Iswaran

Singapore's data privacy watchdog fielded nearly 3,000 cases in 2018: S Iswaran

The Communications and Information Minister also says the Personal Data Protection Commission is adequately resourced to investigate cases as they come in.

SINGAPORE: The country's Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) processed nearly 3,000 data-related cases last year, according to Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran on Monday (Mar 4). 

Mr Iswaran, responding to a parliamentary query from Workers' Party MP Sylvia Lim, said the data privacy watchdog processed 1,669 complaints related to data protection issues and 1,236 related to Do Not Call issues. He was speaking during his ministry's Committee of Supply debate

The Government had reported 41 incidents involving the loss of personal data to the police over the past three years, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean had said in Parliament last month. 

Ms Lim had also asked if the PDPC possessed the necessary resources to investigate big data privacy cases on its own, to which the minister said the agency has the expertise and resources to investigate different types of data protection breaches. 

It also works with relevant parties on investigations where necessary, and Mr Iswaran said the ministry will ensure that PDPC is adequately resourced and fit-for-purpose. 

The minister also reiterated that public sector agencies are subject to the same, if not higher, standards of governing data practices for private sector entities. He said the civil service is covered by not just the Public Sector Governance Act but also other specific laws and the Government Instruction Manual. 

Where there are data protection concerns between organisations and individuals, PDPC helps to link the individuals with the organisation and its data protection officer to address the former's concerns. It can also refer parties to mediation, he added. 

Mr Iswaran said he was not aware of any case that underwent such alternate dispute resolution methods and resulted in compensation or a settlement sum, in response to a follow-up question by Ms Lim.

Source: CNA/kk(hs)