After plenty of deliberation and lots of difficulty, Singapore has finally come to a unanimous decision regarding the ways in which its Personal Data Protection Act of 2012 will be interpreted and applied. This Act was put into place to govern the ways in which personal information is used, stored and distributed by various businesses after their registration.

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Many Singaporean companies were fearful that the final ruling would make things difficult for them. This is because consumer information is a very important part of running businesses these days, even right after the business’s registration, and sharing this information is necessary for helping a business thrive. Fortunately, the Act will be interpreted in such a way that businesses can continue to use the information in this manner, but data protection is still very important here and consumers will not have to worry.

Is Information Safe?

While the Singaporean Act of 2012 is much more lax than the laws put in place in Europe, for example, it is thought that consumers will not need to be overly concerned with their privacy here. The Act itself has two objectives. The first is to allow individuals to have more control over their personal data (although there is no mention of a right to privacy) and to enhance Singapore’s position as an international business hub by enhancing the country’s competitiveness. This really just means that the country is allowed to bring data that is collected internationally back to the city-state level, which may help businesses that have recently completed the registration process as well as existing businesses.

Will it Work?

In the end, it depends upon how the people feel their information is being used and whether or not businesses are willing and ready to follow these guidelines. The Act itself, and this final ruling, essentially puts the minimum requirements in place that will allow data to be exported to Singapore, but also minimizes the burden on Singaporean businesses at any point after their incorporation by not requiring a lot of legal compliance. Singapore already follows the various international standards for the collection, use and distribution of personal information. This Act primarily applies to information that is exported to the country.

What’s the Future?

The future of personal data protection in Singapore is still a bit unclear, but the 2012 act and the ruling on September 24, 2013 have gone a long way. It is thought that Singaporean businesses will eventually have to adhere to much stricter standards than they do now after registration, but the steps will likely be taken gradually as the country’s global market becomes more prevalent. Business owners should not fear compliance burdens, and Singaporean consumers should not fear that their personal information will be divulged in a way that inhibits their privacy. At this point, the Act has been interpreted in such a way that both consumers and business owners are being protected.

The protection of personal data is a huge concern nationwide, and many countries have passed various acts and laws to make sure that everything is confidential without placing undue burden on the business. Singapore is making great strides in this regard and it is thought that these trends will continue well into the future, particularly for businesses that have only just finished the registration process.

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