Parliament Sitting on 2 October 2018

QUESTION FOR WRITTEN ANSWER


1019 . Mr Murali Pillai:
To ask the Minister for Communications and Information whether the Ministry sees a need to regulate in Singapore the collation and use of behavioural data and patterns from online platforms by introducing "do not track" legislation and, if not, why not.

Answer: 

Currently, some websites and online platforms track their users’ behaviour by collecting data on their browsing habits and activities, and use the data to serve targeted advertisements or improve browsing experiences.

2 Organisations should ensure that their collection, use and disclosure of users’ behavioural data comply with the Personal Data Protection Act 2012 (PDPA). In the event of a complaint, the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) will investigate and take enforcement action if it assesses that there is a breach of the PDPA.

3 As Singapore’s Digital Economy develops, we envisage that businesses will increasingly leverage such data to offer better, more innovative products and services that are tailored to their users’ preferences. At the same time, we recognise public concerns over the widespread collection of personal data by online platforms, and the potential misuse of such data.

4 There are tools and mechanisms already available today that provide a balanced and effective approach to prevent the unwanted tracking of individuals. For example, individuals who are concerned with tracking may block and delete cookies, or use plugins and browser extensions to prevent websites from profiling them. They may also request not to be tracked when browsing a website. Most modern browsers come with such functionalities. The Media Literacy Council also provides tips on basic ways in which users can guard against online tracking.

5 MCI and PDPC will continue to monitor developments on this issue, and ensure that our policies continue to safeguard individuals’ interests while allowing data-driven innovation in the Digital Economy.