What is Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) in Singapore [Updated 2024]

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What is Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) in Singapore [Updated 2024]

The Personal Data Protection Act is a law created by officials to secure data against online threats. Online threats have increased due to open-source platforms. Insecure online platforms are where malicious hackers do their illicit activities and trap innocent people to blackmail them for money with the wrong means.

To stop their malicious activities, officials prepared security measures that must be followed by every company that works online. The laws and regulations ensure the safety of the personal data. Now, what does the PDPA work for data security? Let’s talk about the Personal Data Protection Act 2012.

What is the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA)?

The PDPA is a legal standard whose objective is to secure the confidential information of individuals against online threats. It holds on several rules & regulations for the following operations related to data.

  1. Collection,
  2. Use,
  3. Disclosure, and
  4. storage of personal data by firms.

PDPA is synchronized in the system to get the upper hand over data safety and to protect firms against online risks.

Key Points of the PDPA include:

  • Consent
  • Purpose Limitation
  • Data Accuracy
  • Data Security
  • Data Retention
  • Individual Rights
  • Data Transfer
  • Enforcement and Penalties

What does Singapore PDPA apply to?

  1. Organizations

It applies to each firm, regardless of its identity, that collects, uses, and discloses confidential data during its tasks, such as follows.

  1. Company,
  2. Partnership,
  3. Sole Proprietorship,
  4. Association, or
  5. Society

      2.Individuals’ Personal Data

It covers the safety of confidential data related to individuals with several other rules. That includes the following data.

  1. Names,
  2. Identification Numbers,
  3. Contact Details,
  4. Photographs, and
  5. Many More.

      3.Data Collection, Use, and Disclosure

It ensures the completion of tasks with security, such as – the collection, use, and exposing of confidential data by firms. Moreover, it places rules for getting permission, alerting people for data collection, and legitimate use of confidential information.

  1. Cross-Border Transfers

It also applies to data transfer outside Singapore. The companies must ensure proper security measures are set properly while transferring data to other nations with improper data security standards.

  1. Rights of Individuals

It offers the following rights to individuals.

  1. The right to access their sensitive data,
  2. Request Corrections, and
  3. Withdraw Consent for the Collection,
  4. Use, or
  5. Disclosure of their Data.

6.Compliance and Penalties

Firms must cooperate with PDPA’s provisions and deploy necessary safeguards to secure confidential data; non-compliance can cause penalties, such as fines & imprisonment.

Objectives of the PDPA

The PDPA aims to achieve the following objectives:

  • Safeguarding Personal Data

The first objective of PDPA is to secure the confidential information of people. It sets T&C to ensure that firms maintain data safely and responsibly, reducing the threats of unauthorized access, misuse, or disclosure.

  • Enhancing Individual Control

It encourages individuals to have greater control over their confidential information. Moreover, it proposes considering safety before collecting, using, or disclosing their data. People have the right to know how their data is consumed and have the choice related to the collection and use of data.

  • Promoting Transparency

It offers transparency by firms to notify individuals about the objectives for which their confidential data is being gathered, used, or disclosed. Firms are supposed to offer clear and easy-to-understand T&C to ensure moderation.

  • Facilitating Responsible Data Practices

It motivates companies to adapt to responsible data practices. Moreover, it involves the following tasks to ensure the completion of necessary operations.

  1. Deploy Strong Security Measures,
  2. Ensuring Data Accuracy and
  3. Limiting the Retention of Confidential Data.
  • Enabling Business and Innovation

It also has the objective of supporting business and innovation. Clear T&Cs will elevate the management of personal data. Moreover, PDPA offers a framework for increasing reliability among consumers & firms.

  • Enforcing Compliance

It involves provisions for applicabilities and penalties to ensure compliance with its needs. Moreover, it has the objective of creating accountability & incentivize firms to prioritize data protection and privacy.

Scope of the PDPA

The Personal Data Protection Act covers various things related to the collection, use, and disclosure of confidential information by firms. PDPA covers the following areas in the IT Industry.

  1. Organizations
  2. Personal Data
  3. Data Collection
  4. Data Use and Disclosure
  5. Individual Rights
  6. Data Protection Officer (DPO)
  7. Cross-Border Data Transfer
  8. Compliance and Penalties

How is Personal Data Protection Act Singapore different from GDPR?

S.No. Factors PDPA GDPR
1. Territorial Scope It is applied to firms working in Singapore & gathers, uses, and exposes data within the nation. It is applied to firms outside the EU if they trade goods and services to EU residents.
2. Consent Requirements PDPA acquires permission to use personal data. It is free of consent and doesn’t need any specific information. Moreover, one can easily get consent.
3. Data Protection Officers (DPOs) Well, there’s no need to present it in the PDPA in Singapore. However, they are encouraged to hire a DPO usually. It mandates the hiring of a DPO for specific firms.
4. Penalties and Fines These penalties are specifically lower with fines limitation at SGD 1 million/ 10% yearly revenue, depending on the nature of the fault. It causes higher fines for not implementing as compared to the PDPA. Or, it can cause fines up to €20 million/ 4% of global annual turnover.
5. Data Transfer Requirements Well, there is no pre-requisite for data transfer in Singapore. However, it pushes corp to ensure the proper security measures for international data transfer. GDPR restricts international data sharing outside the EU until it’s a necessary scenario. It validates adequacy decisions, standard contractual clauses, binding corporate rules, or individual consent.
6. Data Subject Rights PDPA gives specific rights to personal data for everyone. It offers a set of rights such as –  the right to data portability, the right to erasure (“right to be forgotten”), and the right to object to processing based on legitimate interests.
7. Reporting Data Breaches It doesn’t voluntarily have a certain breach notification period but needs firms to test and notify affected victim’s significant breaches. It puts it mandatory to notify sensitive data breaches to related data security officials within 72 hours until the breach is unlikely to result in risks ti individuals’ rights and freedoms.

Frequently Asked Questions

About What is Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) in Singapore

  1. What is personal data?

It refers to data related to individuals directly/ indirectly. Such data can be used to recognize a specific person. Moreover, it comes in various formats, such as follows.

  • Basic Identification Information,
  • Contact Information,
  • Demographic Information,
  • Financial Information,
  • Employment Information,
  • Health and Medical Information,
  • Biometric Data,
  • Online Identifiers, and
  • Social Media Information
  1. What is the Pdpa Personal Data example?

Some examples of personal data under the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) are

  • Name,
  • Identification Numbers,
  • Contact Details,
  • Date of Birth,
  • Financial Information,
  • Employment Details,
  • Health Information,
  • Biometric Data,
  • IP Addresses & Cookies, and
  • Social Media Profiles.


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