Update on proposed amendments to Singapore’s PDPA

Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) has today issued a response to the feedback received on its earlier public consultation on a new direct marketing act, a new enhanced practical guidance framework (EPG Framework) and a review of the exceptions to the consent obligation. A copy of the PDPC’s response can be found here.

The PDPC’s response refines and clarifies some of its earlier proposals, taking into account the public feedback that was received. Outlined below are some of the key developments.

  • The PDPC will clarify that the new direct marketing act: (A) will not apply to in-app notifications; (B) will also apply to unsolicited marketing and commercial messages sent via text but that include images, videos and audio files; and (C) will also apply to messages sent by senders who users have “followed” on a social media platform but from whom users may not wish to receive commercial text messages.
  • The PDPC will institute a phased approach to the shortening of the mandated period for effecting a user’s withdrawal of consent for direct marketing calls. Such withdrawal period for phone calls under the Do-Not-Call provisions will be shortened from 30 days to 21 days initially, before being shortened to 10 business days in order to align with the withdrawal period for unsolicited marketing messages.
  • The PDPC has confirmed that: (A) determinations under the EPG Framework will be available proposed business activities which have sufficiently detailed plans; and (B) that professional advisors will be allowed to seek determinations on behalf of organisations, and industry bodies will be allowed to seek determinations on behalf of their members.
  • The PDPC will now impose a fixed validity period for all EPG Framework determinations, which will be decided on a case-by-case basis.

What’s next?

It is expected that the new Direct Marketing Act and EPG Framework provisions will now be drafted, although the timeframe within which these will be open to public consultation and tabled in Parliament is unknown. The PDPC’s response also suggests that further refinements to the exceptions to the Consent Obligation can be expected.

Elaina Foo

Author: Elaina Foo

Elaina is a technology and media lawyer at CMS Holborn Asia, a Formal Law Alliance between Holborn Law LLC and CMS Singapore. She advises on commercial, transactional, regulatory, intellectual property and public policy matters.

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