Monday, March 19, 2012

Personal Data Protection Bill to be introduced in Parliament

SINGAPORE: Unsolicited marketing calls or text messages may become a thing of the past if the Personal Data Protection law comes through.

That is what a bill to be introduced in Parliament by the third quarter of this year seeks to cover.

The Ministry of Information, Communication and the Arts launched its third public consultation exercise on the proposed Personal Data Protection Bill on Monday.

The ministry said its first two public consultations showed strong public support for data protection.

Under the proposed law, organisations can only collect, use or disclose personal data with the individual's consent.

And failure to "opt out" is not consent.

For example, it is not considered consent if a company emails a customer asking for permission to call him for promotions but doesn't get a reply.

Individuals can also withdraw their consent and require organisations to stop collecting, using or disclosing their data.

But not everyone needs to ask as there are exemptions for data used in medical emergencies and for news reports.

Other exemptions include data used for artistic or literary purposes, or where the data is already available to the public.

Personal data of deceased persons will also be protected, for up to ten years.

Overseas organisations also come under the law, although the ministry acknowledges there may be practical challenges when it comes to enforcement.

When the data protection law is passed in Parliament, it will be another 18 months at least before the law takes effect. This is to allow organisations sufficient time to adjust to the new restrictions.

A Do-Not-Call Registry, where people can sign up to bar marketing companies from calling them, is expected to be up earlier - at least a year after the Bill is passed.

Enforcement responsibilities will lie with a Data Protection Commission.

It will be set up with the powers to investigate and issue penalties, which can go up to S$1m.

- CNA/fa

View the original article here

Source From Channel News Asia

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