The disconnect of living in a connected world

Representatives of the Office for Personal Data Protection brief reporters on the Office’s work of 2016 and events marking Privacy Awareness Week 2017.

The development and increasing use of social media platforms have affected the volume of enquiries and demands for advice and opinion sought from the Office for Personal Data Protection (GPDP), as well as the number of investigation cases launched by the agency, according to GPDP Co-ordinator Fong Man Chong.
Speaking to the press in a conference held yesterday at the office headquarters, Fong said he expects the number of enquiries to increase further in 2017 given that “the public is more attentive, social media use is more widespread, and entities are progressively increasing their use of personal data.”
For the whole of 2016, of the 2,137 enquiries received by the Office, the biggest group, or 37.4 per cent, comprised enquiries about “notification and authorisation,” according to GPDP’s Co-ordinator.
Secondly came demands about “legitimate conditions in the processing of personal data”, accounting for 30.2 per cent of the total.
Regarding the profile of enquirers, the majority were private entities and individuals.
Last year, GPDP filed 224 processes of investigation, representing an increase of 44.5 per cent when compared to 2015.
The majority of cases filed, or 65.6 per cent, dealt with the “lack of legitimacy in the treatment of personal data,” while 33.5 per cent of cases referred to the “non-respect of principles of data processing,” Fong explained.
Private entities made up the biggest group under scrutiny, corresponding to 51.4 of the cases under investigation in 2016.
The bureau Co-ordinator also noted that 72.8 per cent of the investigation processes were opened following complaints from the holders of exposed data.

Conclusions reached
Less than half of the total cases under investigation in 2016 have been duly concluded, amounting to 111 cases from a total of 302 – of which 78 were cases transferred from 2015, according to Fong.
The verdicts reached were categorised according to different types of conclusion, including ‘lack of proof,’ ‘allegation not substantiated,’ or ‘beyond the competency of GPDP,’ according to the slide presented by Fong during the press conference. ‘Sanctions’ in 2016 were applied to entities in 8.1 per cent of cases, while ‘suggesting improvement’ was the conclusion to 22.5 per cent of the cases.
In what regards the categories of entities subject to investigation, the majority comprised private entities (145) and individuals (125), corresponding to 51.4 per cent and 43.1 per cent, respectively. The remaining 5.5 per cent (or 15), were public entities.