Government data protection meets PDPA standards

We refer to the report, "Call for data protection rules to apply to public sector" (Aug 1).

We agree that governments should be held to high standards for the protection of the data it collects from citizens and businesses.

In Singapore, while the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) does not extend to the Government, the Government's data protection standards are aligned with, if not more stringent than, the requirements in the PDPA.

We have strict cyber security measures to safeguard the data we collect. Government agencies undergo regular and mandatory audits for compliance to data governance protocols and security of information and communications technology (ICT) systems for protection of personal data.

We have implemented measures, such as Internet surfing separation on government systems, which are not required in the PDPA.

These measures show how seriously the Government takes data protection.

Data sharing and data protection within the public sector are governed by the Public Sector Governance Act (PSGA), which was passed in Parliament in January.

The PSGA makes clear when and how data can be shared across government agencies to improve policymaking and deliver better and more responsive services.

It makes the misuse of data by public servants a criminal offence.

As we improve the use of data to serve citizens and businesses, the Government will ensure that our data protection measures are on a par with, if not better than, best practices in the private sector.

Wong Hong Kai

Director, Policy and Governance Directorate

Smart Nation and Digital Government Office

Prime Minister's Office

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 03, 2018, with the headline 'Government data protection meets PDPA standards'. Print Edition | Subscribe