Why organisations in Singapore should anonymise data

The Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) is not applicable if a recipient does not have any other information to re-identify an individual.

By Nayela Deeba
Nov. 18, 2016

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Data protection is key to building a network of trust. According to Yeong Zee Kin, Assistant Chief Executive of the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) of Singapore, adopting the practice of anonymisation adoptioning data helps businesses gain consumer trust and promote online initiatives.

Anonymisation is essentially a process of taking out information in data sets that can be used to identify a person.

According to PDPC, As a matter of fact, data is considered anonymised if personal data has been converted into data that does not readily identify a particular individual, or if users of with access to anonymised data do not have access to other information that can re-identify itself.

Kin Yeong added that PDPC has revised the anonymised guidelines related to anonymisation have been revised to suit the needs of businesses and modern technology advancements.

"We are reaching out to trade associations for advisory guidelines," said Kin during Data Privacy Asia 2016 which was held at One Farrer Hotel.

Anonymisation is essentially a way of handling data so that an organisation is able to distinguish one customer from another-in an attempt to improve services.

Kin Yeong stressed that in several cases, the Personal Data Protection Provision Act (PDPA) is not applicable if a recipient does not have any other information to re-identify. However, disclosing orgnisations can adopt measures to prevent re-identification by approaching legal measures such as . For example, contractual safeguards.

Another method would be implementing government frameworks, processes and controls to reduce the risk of re-identification.

Finally, Kin Yeong hopes these security(PDPA) measures will soon be passed on and discussed in other parts of the world.

"I am hopeful that in future, we will speak to our counterparts about data protection laws that suit our stage in an economy development. I hope that Singapore will contribute to the development of data protection in years to come," Yeong concludedd Kin.