The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Side of Technology
Is PDPA Just a Buzz?
No one and no country is safe from hacking as the SingHealth cyberattack reported yesterday shows, the more digitised you are the more vulnerable you become.
The personal records of Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his predecessor Goh Chock Tong have been compromised. They are among 1.5 million people in the country who have had their data stolen, that is about one-third the population of Singapore.
At least we know this has happened and it is easy for everyone to find out if they are among the victims, thanks to technology.
Technology Steals, Technology Kills, Technology Heals…
Technology steals, technology kills (as it happens in India with political criminals spreading venom and hate through the Web), technology heals….
In fact, everything is possible with technology – the good, the bad and the ugly!
I was able to find out that my personal data was not stolen, thanks to a quick check at the SingHealth site – https://datacheck.singhealth.com.sg/. That was a swift, tech-aided way to get to the truth. Singapore-style efficiency, available at your fingertips!
Class Action Suit!
The hacking apart, I have always been sceptical about the efficacy of the Personal Data Protection Act in Singapore, possibly that is the same everywhere.
The difference being that if it happens in the U.S. the government (or entities responsible for it) will face the threat of a class action suit.
In one of my blogposts four years ago, I had argued the ease with which personal data could be accessed made the PDPA nothing more than a big buzz with confidentiality hardly kept sacrosanct!
My Blogposts in the Past
Unconditional Release of Data: That was written in the context of a hospital in the country asking me to sign a form that said it “had the right to process and release any information about me unconditionally for purposes it deems necessary.
In another post in 2016, I had wondered if the PDPA was being followed in letter and spirit in Singapore. That was after someone purportedly from the Ministry of Labour gave me a call for a survey with all my personal and professional details at her command. I had raised the question of whether the focus was more on protection of corporate data than that of individuals.
The SingHealth saga has seen Singaporeans end up with their personal data being compromised. What next? Will they lose their money also given the madness with which Singapore is pursuing e-payments?
G Joslin Vethakumar