Thursday, October 1, 2020 - 11:11


Mr Jansen Aw of Donaldson & Burkinshaw LLP shares his takeaways from Privacy Awareness Week 2020, which shed light on proposed amendments to the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA).


Mr Jansen Aw is a familiar face at Privacy Awareness Week, having attended the series of seminars and discussions on all things data and privacy since its inception several years ago. This year was no different for the partner at Donaldson & Burkinshaw LLP, who attended and facilitated the following sessions:

·        The Data Protection Officer Symposium: “It was a good opportunity to get the latest updates and to learn of the trending topics in this area of personal data protection law and industry.”

·        SAL’s Roundtable Discussion on the Proposed Amendments to the PDPA: “This is a closed-door discussion to discuss some of the key issues concerning personal data protection law and practice in Singapore.”

·        The Law Society’s Sub-committee Workshop on the Key Changes to the PDPA: “It’s a good way for members to contribute and to share their knowledge on data protection law, concepts and practices with participants.”

All three sessions underscored an important shift within the privacy sphere: that Singapore was moving from a model of compliance to one rooted in accountability. “This means that organisations should no longer set their sights on simply seeking to comply with the PDPA, but to undertake actual responsibility in protecting personal data,” explains Mr Aw, who was previously an assistant chief counsel with the Personal Data Protection Commission.

He adds that this shift is consequential for lawyers advising clients on data protection matters: “There is a greater need for companies to adopt privacy by default and design in providing their services or products, and to create a culture of good data protection management practices.”

Mr Aw also welcomes the proposed amendments for being both pro-business and pro-consumer. He concludes, “This is exciting because we tend to view data protection regulations as favouring one over the other. Under these proposed amendments, companies and individual consumers can be seen on the same side of the coin, whereby companies that have good data protection practices will stand to benefit from the greater consumer trust and confidence reposed: a win-win situation.”


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