Singapore Considers Introduction Of Data Portability

Author:Ms Charmian Aw
Profession:Reed Smith (Worldwide)

On 25 February 2019, Minister for Communications and Information announced that Singapore is considering, as part of an ongoing review of the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA), introducing a data portability requirement that would confer greater control and rights by data subjects over the movement of their personal data across service providers.

In connection with this, a discussion paper on data portability has been made available by the Personal Data Protection Commission in collaboration with the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore.

Data portability is a right that is conferred by individuals to request that a copy of their data be transmitted in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format to another organisation. It is commonly viewed as a natural extension of the individual/data subject's right to access under data protection law.

Several jurisdictions, including Australia, the EU, India, Japan, the Philippines, New Zealand, and California, in the United States, have either already adopted or are considering adopting the right to data portability. Other jurisdictions including the UK and the U.S. have also implemented sector-wide data portability: for instance, in the financial and health sectors, respectively.

The discussion paper examines the potential impact of introducing data portability to the market in Singapore, and some of these key points are as follows:

Effects on market competition arising from potentially lower switching costs and barriers to entry and expansion. This is because there would be a reduction in friction involved in moving data for consumers, which lowers the cost of switching. The reduction in switching costs could enhance competition and lower the barriers to entry, since consumers can simply switch to another supplier with a more suitable or attractive offer. External benefits arising from increased data use where data portability leads to more data being provided by individuals to organisations. This, the discussion paper noted, could be particularly beneficial for the health care sector and certain financial applications (for example, better risk assessment), as well as in transport and infrastructure planning. Higher productivity derived from the ease of combining data from different sources can lower the cost of producing data-enabled products and services. Innovation from combining data in new ways across organisations and industries, for instance, in concentrated and...

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