Updated: 05/30/2014 00:41

SingTel spent $2m so far to comply with consumer data protection

SingTel spent $2m so far to comply with consumer data protection

SingTel says it has spent more than $2 million so far to protect customer data. 

And that's to comply with the Personal Data Protection Act or more commonly known as the PDPA which will be fully implemented in July. 

SingTel says the money has been spent on upgrading their systems and training staff to properly handle customer data as well as a new portal. 

The portal which will be launched by end July, will allow customers to pick the marketing information they would like to continue to receive. 

For instance, customers can choose to continue receiving information on rewards and offers but opt out of market research or satisfaction surveys. 

SingTel is confident that only a small percentage of its customers would choose NOT to receive ANY marketing information. 

Yuen Kuan Moon is its Chief Executive Officer of Consumer Singapore. 

"By giving options, you're actually mitigating the effect of everyone being paranoid and start to opt out for everything. I believe if you opt of everything, you miss out on a lot of stuff. I mean I can't contact you when I tell you I got a good offer for you and that's quite extreme. And most customers even if they choose to opt out, they may be more selective."

IT Risk and Cyber-security leader at PwC Singapore Tan Shong Ye says such a proactive move bodes well for SingTel. 

"This is an opportunity for telcos to engage their customers. Because many customers data privacy is important, something that holds dearly to them. So if an organisation like telcos make an effort to engage the clients and show that they make it easy for their customers to protect their info to safeguard their privacy, it will help them build the relationship, because the customer are entrusting their personal data with telco."

The telco expects to spend an additional half a million dollars yearly for other operating costs such as running the database of numbers through the Do Not Call Registry before sending out any marketing messages. 

But it says it won't pass on the added costs of complying with the Act to its consumers. 

-By Gwendolyn Goh

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