Navigating Singapore’s Data Privacy Laws in Digital Marketing


Singapore’s economy is significantly impacted by foreign countries’ data privacy rules because it is a global city-state.

Many marketers are not taking this into account, which could have an impact on their business decisions and possibly cause them to break the law.

In order to constantly keep their data secure, marketers must understand the nuances of Singapore’s data privacy rules.

This post will explain how marketers may get ready for and comply with these requirements.

Our experts offer their opinions on data privacy in Singapore as well as helpful advice on how to ensure legal marketing activities.

Many high-profile data breaches have occurred this year, in part due to increased interest in data analytics and the state of the digital marketing industry.

These instances can have disastrous results for both the people whose personal information is disclosed and the businesses who lose business as a result of “bad news” and reputational harm.

Singapore’s Development Of Data Protection

Singapore’s data protection rules were first created to shield citizens against spam and unauthorised marketing emails.

The city-data state’s protection regulations changed along with the economy.

Singapore currently boasts some of the most extensive data protection rules on the planet.

Let’s take a quick historical tour to better comprehend how Singapore’s privacy regulations have changed through time.

Email addresses were formerly the only personal data that businesses had to safeguard.

The Data Protection Act was not changed to encompass the gathering of “personal data” until 2006.

Before this legislation, businesses just had to guarantee the confidentiality of their consumers, which is now more challenging.

Strong data protection rules became more necessary as big data and data analytics grew.

This is due to the fact that we live in a society where every action we take is monitored and digitally recorded.

Also, we receive several marketing emails every day.

It’s reasonable to believe that the purpose of the amendment to Singapore’s data protection legislation to encompass “big data” was to shield the country’s citizens from these intrusive procedures

The Data Protection Law

The Data Protection Act is Singapore’s primary data protection statute.

This law governs the gathering, use, and disclosure of personal information as well as any other data that may be used to identify a specific person.

Although “digital marketing” or “online marketing” are not officially mentioned in the Data Protection Act, it does regulate the gathering of “personal data,” which includes both an individual’s online and offline habits.

The Data Protection Act defines “personal data” as any information that can be used to identify or locate a person, including name, address, phone number, and email address.

Offline behavioural information about the data subject (i.e. the person whose personal data is being collected) such as browsing history, purchase history, etc. may also fall under this definition.

This is also referred to as “ambient data.”

Singapore’s Data Protection Act was subsequently modified in 2006, as it has been mentioned previously, to have included personal data in its definition.

Prior to this transformation, companies had to safeguard the “privacy and security” of their customers.

This is a significant aspect considering, in terms of data privacy legislation, “anonymity” is fundamentally a risk-management strategy rather than a legal concept.

Regulation on Personal Data Protection


Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Regulation (PDPR) was adopted in 2016.

The Data Protection Act was amended by the PDPR, which gives businesses more freedom to keep and treat personal data locally.

The PDPR broadens the range of personal data that organisations must safeguard.

According to the PDPR, the following guidelines must be followed by all firms in Singapore that gather, store, or process personal data:

Create a Data Protection Officer (DPO) position

  • Evaluate the personal data policies and processes.
  • Periodically evaluate the efficiency of their information security controls.
  • Approach backups with an “air-gap” mentality (i.e. keep backups away from your main computer system).
  • In the event of a disaster, carry out recovery processes as quickly as you can after doing routine backup tests.
  • Create a plan to address security lapses when they happen.
  • Inform staff members on a regular basis about the value of data security.

By taking these precautions, organisations will increase their chances of avoiding detection by cybercriminals, reducing the dangers associated with data breaches.

These measures, when carefully put into practise, can also assist firms in minimising the harm caused by a data breach, reducing both the financial losses and the impact in terms of lost business and brand damage.

All Nations Must Comply With Data Privacy Laws

Although many firms will be able to deploy solutions to protect their data successfully, not all nations have the same data privacy rules.

In fact, only 26% of organisations have integrated “international” data flows, with 55% planning to do so in the upcoming year, according to the survey.

Businesses operating in nations like Singapore that have adopted data privacy laws are required to abide by the same rules that safeguard people’s privacy.

As a result, you must make sure that your company treats your data ethically and securely; otherwise, you risk facing harsh legal repercussions.

It’s critical to note that the PDPR does not propose any novel ideas or guiding principles for data protection.

Instead, it clarifies how current rules are to be applied in the digital age.

So, companies ought to already be familiar with Singapore’s data protection rules and how they relate to the online environment.

Regulation on General Data Protection

Navigating-Singapore's- Data-Privacy-Laws-in-Digital-Marketing-Regulation-on-General-Data-Protection

Singapore adopted the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) in 2018.

The Personal Data Protection Regulation will be replaced in 2019 by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Residents of Singapore and some other states will have even greater privacy and data security protections thanks to the GDPR.

Additionally, the GDPR specifies the rights of people whose data is being gathered by companies based in Singapore.

Follow the Privacy Shield guidelines:

  • Create a Data Protection Officer (DPO) position.
  • Let users access their personal information
  • Make sure that personal data is handled legitimately and fairly.

Global data privacy regulations have just undergone a significant upgrade thanks to the GDPR.

Prior to the introduction of the GDPR, the majority of nations lacked robust data protection regulations, making businesses more susceptible to privacy-related hazards like data breaches.

The GDPR will give people more control over their data while also holding companies and advertisers accountable for their behaviour.

Using Singapore’s Data Privacy Law Regulations to Your Advantage in Digital Marketing

Navigating-Singapore's-Data-Privacy-Laws-in-Digital-Marketing-Using Singapore's-Data-Privacy Regulations-to-Your-Advantage

Regarding data privacy, Singapore is among the most developed nations in the world.

If you have a business there or intend to open an office there, you must make sure that your digital marketing strategy and tactics meet your legal requirements with regard to data protection.

The nation is known for being extremely protective of the data of its inhabitants, and a number of different industries are governed by its data privacy rules.

This post will walk you through the fundamentals of how these regulations relate to you as a digital marketer if you’re unsure.

Establishing Realistic Objectives With Data Privacy Laws


Setting attainable goals for your performance in digital marketing is one of the first things you should do.

Setting a goal that is out of your reach could leave you feeling let down, so avoid doing this.

It’s a good idea to set goals for data protection since they allow you to assess your success in a methodical and quantifiable manner.

This inspires you to keep going even in the face of difficulties.

The most effective way to define these goals is to use metrics that matter and are relevant to how your business operates.

You should choose the KPIs that matter the most to you and your business if you’re using Google Analytics, HubSpot, or another analytics software.

Think about how you can use the data you have access to to your advantage.

For instance, if you are aware that your customers look at your website several times before making a purchase, you might want to put more effort into getting people to visit it rather than generating leads through social media.

Choosing a specialised data protection officer is a crucial next step (DPO).

Imagine a dedicated DPO as law enforcement who has access to internal systems and is in charge of monitoring and enforcing data privacy compliance.

The ideal DPO will be well-versed in data privacy regulations and skilled at negotiating and upholding these legal duties.

If you’re pursuing a business transaction or preparing to create an office there, a DPO can be a very useful ally to have on your side.

They can guide you through the legal requirements that come with starting a business or opening an office there.

You may stay on top of your data privacy obligations by using specialised tools that a trustworthy DPO will have at their disposal.

Data Privacy Laws in Creating Data Mining and Analytical Workflows


Design data-mining and analytical workflows that find and surface the most pertinent information for your company in order to fully harness the potential of data.

The first step to creating a new business is to create a business plan.

The second step is to create a business plan.

The next step is to choose how and where to enter the data into your system, what analysis to run, and how to present the results.

Data mining and analytics are not independent endeavours; rather, they are an extension of your marketing plan.

It’s critical to consider how you’ll assess the effectiveness of analytical processes as you develop them in order to determine whether their primary objectives have been met.

For instance, it’s possible that your analytics software isn’t appropriately classifying this as a relevant statistic if your goal was to increase brand recognition but you haven’t seen the increase in visitors you’d anticipate.

This may indicate that your marketing efforts are not yielding the desired results.

Before deciding whether to keep using this specific strategy in certain circumstances, you may want to reevaluate your presumptions and the information you’ve gathered.

Observation & Reporting on Data Privacy Laws


Make sure you have the right systems in place to keep an eye on and report on your compliance with data privacy laws.

External parties who have access to your data ought to be able to verify that your policies and processes are being followed and that no unauthorised individuals are using this data.

To guarantee good data privacy standards across your firm, monitoring, and reporting are essential.

These tools will also assist you in locating any legal weaknesses that you might need to resolve with a legal team.

At least twice a year, monitoring and reporting should be evaluated to ensure that everything is current and that you are adhering to any new legal requirements or standards that may have emerged since your previous evaluation.

Due to Singapore’s broad data privacy law, it may be difficult to fully comprehend them all.

Yet, with some preparation and investigation, you’ll be able to build your marketing approach with assurance, conscious of the responsibilities associated with running a business or office there.

You will be able to fully utilise all the information at your disposal by appointing a dedicated DPO and creating efficient data-mining and analysis operations.

Your financial situation will be improved, and you’ll be able to expand your company in Singapore.

The Effects Of A Badly Conducted Data Breach

One surefire method to have your data compromised is to let your guard down when it comes to data security and to assume that no one will hack into your system since you don’t have anything valuable to steal.

This has happened to many firms.

Businesses must take information security seriously and apply the recommended practises described above because a data breach can have substantial financial and reputational repercussions.

Many high-profile data breaches this year have exposed the private and personal information of millions of people.

These instances can have devastating results for both the people whose personal information is disclosed and the businesses who lose business as a result of “bad press” and reputational harm.

Although the reasons for these cyberattacks vary, the ultimate result is frequently the same: people’s private and confidential information is put in danger, and the organisations that hold this information may suffer.

How can companies protect client data while yet competing in the modern digital environment is the question.


About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


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