Data privacy has been the talk of town recently due to the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal. But even before this, data privacy has been an increasingly hot topic over the years.
This has propelled changes in data concerns and protection across all levels from individuals to governments.
On an individual level, people are wondering how much personal information are they giving away when they signed up for a free service such as Facebook or Google, and how safe is it?
A KPMG study on data privacy show “The average Singaporean consumer is not convinced that companies are doing enough to protect their personal data, and this in turn results in a lack of trust and hesitance to purchase online”
Across companies, executives increases their budget for big data security amid increasingly stringent data privacy law and corporate data leaks.
Finally, governments across the world worries about the power private companies wield with the amount of data in their possession.
So, as companies and governments across the world promises to safeguard your information better, how can you be sure that they are really acting on their promise?
Let us walk you through some of the most common things to look out for in a company’s website to see if they are taking your data seriously.
A Secure Website with SSL and HTTPS
Google encourages all companies to switch to HTTPS a few years ago and explains this one their website:
“HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is an internet communication protocol that protects the integrity and confidentiality of data between the user’s computer and the site.”
Our website is an example of this:
When using Chrome browser, you can easily see if a website has https via the url bar on top. If they are indeed on HTTPS, you will be able to see the word “SECURE” highlighted in green, and instead of http://, you will see https:// beside the company url.
Benefits of being on HTTPS includes:
- Encryption: To prevent malicious actors from monitoring your online activities on the website
- Data Integrity: Data shared between you and the company are secured and cannot be modified by outside actors
- Authentication: To prevent phishing. You can always be sure you landed on the official company page.
Check for A Data Privacy Page
A data privacy page lays out how a company collects data from you and what do they intend to do with it.
So, if you are planning to submit sensitive information to a company — e.g. mobile number, name and NRIC. Remember to search for a PDPA policy on the company website.
You may take a look at our own PDPA policy at https://applypersonalloans.sg/pdpa-policy/
A quick read through our policy will provide you with some examples of important clauses a typical PDPA policy should include:
- We do not automatically collect your data unless it has been given to us willingly to engage or inquire our services
- We will only use your data within the company and this will data will NEVER be sold to any third party
- We will take reasonable steps to secure your data
- You can request to withdraw your consent to any use of your data or to edit your data via one of our hotlines.
As more companies place a bigger emphasis on big data in order to better understand their customers, you can be sure they will try even harder to get more personal information from you.
In some ways, this is unavoidable, especially if you wish to engage the company’s services. But you can better protect yourself by understanding what the company plan to do with your data.