Don't force consumers to consent to marketing

Earlier this month, I received a reminder from the Automobile Association of Singapore (AAS) to renew my membership.

I decided not to do so, as it seemed compulsory for me under the "Declaration and Authorisation" section to give consent to the AAS, its subsidiaries and partners to send promotional and advertising materials to my address, e-mail and mobile phone number.

It was stated that I could opt out of such communications, but I was unable to find the option to do so within the AAS website. Presumably, I would have to contact each organisation individually to request it not to send me spam materials.

According to the Personal Data Protection Commission's guidelines, organisations should provide individuals with an "opt in" or "opt out" option and not deny them the service if they refuse to give consent to the marketing.

But individuals are often powerless to defend themselves if corporations make opting in to marketing a prerequisite for services.

Sim Eng Cheong