Make firms which abuse personal information delete data

Data is the new gold.

Unfortunately, this does not seem to be widely understood yet.

In a recent case, a firm called Company Register, which subsequently changed its name to Data Register, was admonished and fined $200,000 ("Official-sounding letter turns out to be subscription scam"; June 4).

However, the fact remains that Data Register is now sitting on a database enhanced through the actions of not just the 1,056 businesses, but possibly all the 22,000 recipients of those misleading letters who logged on to the company's website as instructed.

As someone who deals in database analytics, I can state with certainty that such enhancements can be very valuable and last over an extended period.

The courts should consider ordering such firms that flout the law to delete all the information collected.

This would make unscrupulous managements think twice before dismissing fines as an acceptable "marketing cost" in their goal of building a gold mine of business and personal profiles.

Paul Jansen

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 14, 2016, with the headline 'Make firms which abuse personal information delete data'. Print Edition | Subscribe