Singaporeans May Not Disclose NRIC Numbers for Purchases

Abolishing the Requirement to Disclose NRIC Numbers

A new rule has come into play. From September 1 next year, Singaporeans will not have to disclose NRIC numbers, which has been seen as a significant step towards consumer privacy protection. There have been many instances of businesses illegitimately using the NRIC numbers, and this guideline issued by the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) is expected to change all that.

 

New Resolution

The guidelines had been issued by the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) on August 31, 2018. According to it, an organization can’t collect, use or disclose NRIC numbers of the consumers. Also, they will not be allowed to make copies of the card or retain it anytime later. This goes the same for the birth certificate numbers, work permit numbers and foreign identification numbers.  

However, businesses can still decide to get the information in some cases granted by the law. However, the rule does not cover the critical sectors, like essential buildings of infrastructure. If companies breach the rule by the time of its implementation, the after-effects could be substantial. An organization could pay a fine of up to S$1 million. At this moment, the PDPC has been issuing guidelines and alternatives to the businesses so that after September 1, 2019, they will still be able to run smoothly even without any NRIC numbers.

 

The Need for NRIC Numbers

To tackle the need of NRIC numbers, the government instructs businesses to access other identifiers in place of it. Also, they are to replace the existing NRIC numbers in their databases with other suitable identifiers. They will also need to upgrade their security management to prevent disclosure of any personal specifics. This is to discourage the companies from collecting personal data which could convert to troubles in later phases. To help the businesses with this, the government has also decided to grant 70% of the price to implement new solutions.

Having to disclose NRIC numbers in many cases hasn’t been a healthy experience for the Singaporeans. Due to this, the new rules are under consideration, and the customers will not have to disclose NRIC numbers in cases such as free parking and buying movie tickets online. Other instances include getting a local shop membership, for example.

The Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) has also instructed businesses to use other forms of identification such as phone numbers or email addresses. In a case that the NRIC number is the only way of identification, the customers are to disclose NRIC numbers. However, they don’t have to give out more than the last three digits and the checksum.

Anyway, in some cases, the consumers will still need to disclose their NRIC numbers. This includes going to a doctor and buying a property in Singapore. Also, the customers must disclose their NRIC numbers while checking into a hotel, joining a new organization and subscribing to a telephone line. Apart from this, there are cases where disclosing NRIC numbers are mandatory. Potential instances include entering school premises and critical buildings.

Singaporeans May Not Disclose NRIC Numbers for Purchases

 

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Effectivity of the Rule

A new rule has come into play. From September 1 next year, Singaporeans will not have to disclose NRIC numbers. This has been a significant step towards consumer privacy protection. There have been many instances of businesses illegitimately using the NRIC numbers, and this guideline from the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) will change all that.

This rule is a step toward uplifting customer privacy in Singapore. Let’s hope that such implementation will run successfully.

 


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