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Hello and season greetings from Singapore!

We have had an exciting month. Singapore hosted the world’s largest FinTech Festival in November, which was attended by more than 25,000 participants from over 100 countries. The FinTech Festival showcased new and cutting-edge technology and a number of the presentations and discussions focused attention on related data privacy and cyber security issues. We anticipate more activity to come in the new year as Singapore consolidates its Smart Nation initiative and we see the outcome of the Personal Data Protection Commission’s public consultation to consider several significant proposed changes to Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Act to manage personal data in the digital economy. 

The much-awaited results of the extended public consultation on the new cybersecurity legislation was released by the Singapore Ministry of Communications and Information and the Cyber Security Agency in November and around the same time press reports emerged of a significant online personal data breach in neighboring Malaysia, involving data from 46 million mobile phone users, which is currently being investigated by the Malaysian authorities.

We are seeing an increased focus on data protection issues as businesses across Asia Pacific examine how their business will be impacted by EU GDPR and continue to fine-tune their GDPR remediation programs. Therefore it is somewhat unsurprising that market research released in early December shows that Singapore CFOs see data security and privacy as the top challenges they face in corporate reporting.

Singapore is not alone in addressing privacy issues in the digital economy. This week, Hong Kong has announced the new format for its ID cards. The “smart cards� of 10 years ago are now out of date and the new ID cards will come with expanded storage capacity for the card holder’s personal information. Anticipating data privacy concerns from residents, the Hong Kong government has pledged to conduct an independent data privacy assessment and to submit those reports to the Privacy Commissioner for assessment.

Wishing you a happy festive season!

Stella

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