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S’pore malls to be forbidden from collecting IC numbers

SINGAPORE: It will soon be unlawful for mall operators to collect and use shoppers’ identification card (NRIC) numbers to track free parking redemptions, manage membership accounts and conduct lucky draws under proposed new rules.
The revised privacy rules will also prohibit cinema operators from collecting NRIC numbers from customers who buy movie tickets online.
Rental firms also cannot keep physical NRICs as collateral for rented equipment such as a bicycle.
The Personal Data Protection Commission bars these acts in a revised advisory that aims to interpret Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Act.
In a public consultation paper issued yesterday, the privacy watchdog said: “The indiscriminate collection and use of individuals’ NRIC numbers is of special concern, as it increases the risk that the NRIC numbers may be obtained and used for illegal activities such as identity theft and fraud.”
Such risks arise as the NRIC number is a permanent and irreplaceable identifier, which can be used to unlock much personal data.
The Commission decided to tighten the rules that govern NRIC use following feedback from the public.
The privacy watchdog also aims to address concerns over service providers’ requests to obtain a copy of people’s NRIC as it contains other sensitive data such as name, photograph, iris image, thumbprint and residential address.
Organisations will have up to 12 months from the release of the new advisory, expected to be in mid-2018, to change their business practice.
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