NRIC numbers still appearing in public notices

The Classifieds section of the newspaper yesterday carried a notice from the Official Assignee's office listing the latest group of people to have been discharged from bankruptcy.

There was also a High Court notice about an individual on a creditor's bankruptcy application.

In both these notices, the NRIC numbers of the individuals involved were printed in full.

With future changes on rules guiding the use of NRIC data (Stricter rules to protect NRIC data from next Sept; Sept 1), can the Personal Data Protection Commission clarify if such a move to publicly print NRIC numbers in full is acceptable?

I understand that in recent years, NRIC numbers have no longer been printed in full on public notices, be it lucky draw results or advertisements, with only the last four digits and letter listed.

On this note, one may recall that newspapers in the past used to carry notices with NRIC numbers published in full.

These old newspapers are available at resource centres like the National Library Board (NLB), as they have been archived on microfilm and the NewspaperSG database.

Will NLB be looking into the NRIC numbers published in their old newspaper archives, especially the digital collection?

An ill-intentioned person could simply do a cursory digital search on the NewspaperSG database to retrieve and abuse the NRIC data of the people mentioned in those newspaper notices.

Sean Lim Wei Xin

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 23, 2018, with the headline 'NRIC numbers still appearing in public notices'. Print Edition | Subscribe