January 16, 2021
- Besides your name, age, gender, education and employment, data companies know what vehicle you own, the size of your home, your socioeconomic status, the websites you visit, your tendency to default on loans, and even your health problems
- The enormous use of personal data by corporates and governments have become part and parcel of today’s connected society and quality of life, but also risks being misused or falling into the wrong hands
- Data privacy law differs from country to country. Experts say Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Act is not designed to ensure data privacy as its chief aim, but was conceived to achieve a narrower goal of protecting personal user data
- The onus is also on the individual to keep asking questions about their personal data and not simply sign away their privacy, experts added
“We’ve all been using WhatsApp for many years, but the company’s top management decided to ban it and we cannot say no,” said Mr Chin, 52.
“Everyone in the tech chat groups in my company switched to Signal, so I did so as well. I agree with the decision too: Data privacy is important to me,” the IT operations specialist told TODAY — ironically in an interview conducted over Facebook at his request.
Signal, as well as Telegram, are rival encrypted messaging apps that have surged in popularity amid the fiasco as an alternative to WhatsApp.
WhatsApp has since come forward to clarify that its new terms will not allow its parent company to access the app users' messages, and delayed its February deadline for users to accept the terms. But the new policy will still allow WhatsApp to share more information with Facebook and roll out advertising and e-commerce.
Around the same time, a similar controversy unfolded involving Singapore’s contact-tracing system TraceTogether, after Singaporeans found out earlier this month that their Bluetooth proximity data could be used for criminal investigations.
This led some users to switch off their apps or leave their tokens at home, despite the fact that such data is critical in fighting the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic, TODAY previously reported.