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All You Need to Know About Appointing a Data Protection Officer For Your Company

Last modified: December 8, 2020
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Each Singapore company, small or big, must appoint a Data Protection Officer (DPO). It is a vital step in securing the data privacy of individuals interacting with your company. It also ensures your business’ compliance with the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA).


Role of the Data Protection Officer in Your Company

The role of DPO is to ensure that your business processes personal data as per the data protection rules. The personal details of your employees, clients, or associates are essential and need protection.


DPO’s Responsibility

  • Making sure that current practices adopted by your business conform with the PDPA
  • Audit the storage and usage of hard copy or electronic data
  • Takes care of data protection-related questions and complaints from your staff or clients
  • Advises data privacy to staff
  • Alerts the management about any data-risks
  • Coordinate with the Personal Data Protection Commission for updates on data protection and training


Data Protection-Related Complaints

1.Someone has complained that you haven’t appointed a DPO or that you have subpar data protection practices.

After you appoint a DPO, ask your secretary or the provider of company secretary services to update your company’s registers on ACRA’s BizFile+ portal. Go to Data Protection Officer field and update appointee’s name, phone number and email address.

2.Someone has complained about how your business use or processes their personal data.

You take a group photograph of your staff at a conference. However, a passerby also gets photographed. It happens by mistake and without their permission. You upload the photo to social media and the passerby sees it and contact and request your DPO to take it off.

3.Someone has complained about the disclosure of personal data by accident.

You store clients’ names, email addresses, office contact numbers, and office addresses. By mistake, they are displayed to the public, and the concerned person sees it. It means you failed in protecting their personal data. You really need an experienced DPO and better practices.

4.Someone has complained about data breach causing unauthorized disclosure of personal data.

You are expected to protect data on your servers from ransomware, worms, and virus attacks. However, you fail to implement proper firewalls and other measures, and a data breach occurs. It exposes your staff’s or clients contact numbers, emails, passwords, bank details, Etc. Your DPO will need to deal with this complaint.


Must I Appoint A DPO for My Singapore Company?

Yes! You have to appoint a data protection officer.

When you appoint a DPO, it sets you free to grow your business. Your Data Protection Officer takes care of the related complaints. Suppose the need arises the appointee audits and updates the processes to ensure data protection in your company to your staff’s and clients’ data. You need to take this appointment very seriously as failure to comply with the law could land you in legal troubles.


Appointing a Data Protection Officer

You do not have to hire an employee for this position, especially. You can delegate the task to one of your present employees as an added responsibility. Ensure that the appointee knows your IT processes.

The appointee should be capable of updating them to receive and respond to data protection-related complaints and of ensuring company’s compliance with the PDPA. The appointee should be accessible using a telephone during Singapore business hours.

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