A joint study conducted by Straits Interactive and Appknox noted that nine out of 10 apps surveyed might have breached Singapore’s data law
When researchers took a closer look at the privacy policies of some 113 apps in the Singapore Google Play Store, they found that nine out of 10 of these mobile services might be breaching Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA).
The PDPA was legislated to protect people’s personal data by ordering organisations to “collect, use or disclose personal data with the individual’s knowledge and consent”, “in an appropriate manner for the circumstances”, and “for purposes that would be considered appropriate to a reasonable person”.
A large majority of the apps surveyed, which came from various categories such as banking, taxi-hailing, telecommunications, real estate and financial advice, do not inform their users what data they collect or use, according to The Straits Times.
These apps typically ask for access to the individual’s “online and social media profiles, and location”, but sometimes, they might even get users to give them permission to use the mobile phone’s microphone and camera.
In many cases, there was no explanation for needing access to those features.
The 90-day study, conducted by Singapore-based data protection technology companies Straits Interactive and Appknox, also found that more than 50 per cent of the mobile apps surveyed have “poor encryption or contain vulnerabilities”, which means that hackers could access what was thought to be protected personal data.
App developers based in Singapore or looking to operate in the city-state should be aware of the PDPA, and be transparent whenever dealing with information from consumers, regardless of intent.
A recent study published in August 2015 noted that 75 per cent of companies in the city-state find it easy to comply with the PDPA.
Aside from making it clear to consumers how information will be collected, used or disclosed, the PDPA also enables the Do Not Call Registry, which lets individuals opt out of telemarketing messages.
Image Credit: Pornsak Paewlumfaek/Shutterstock
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