Release of personal details necessary to provide public with correct and relevant facts

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Press Statement by Smart Nation and Digital Government Office


Release of personal details necessary to provide public with correct and relevant facts


We have received queries from the media regarding the Government’s policy on the disclosure of personal data in certain cases of public interest.


The Online Citizen first published an article on Ms Sua on 17 Dec 2019 which omitted key facts and contained misleading statements. The relevant public agencies jointly issued a clarification to provide the full picture to the public. Some specific personal information was disclosed in order to convey verifiable facts and to enable the individual to challenge the Government’s account of the case, if need be.    


The law permits such disclosure, including the identity of the individual, in the public interest. Public agencies have a duty to preserve the public trust reposed in them and to ensure that citizens are not misled. 


Similarly, the Personal Data Protection Commission permits companies to disclose relevant personal information about an individual in a public forum, in order to counter false or misleading allegations from that individual in the same forum. This gives the companies an opportunity to clear the air for themselves, and convey the facts of the case to the public.


Such lawful, necessary disclosure of information should not be conflated with unauthorised breaches of citizens’ data, which all public agencies, including the CPF Board, are fully committed to safeguard against. Public agencies abide by the data protection regulations under the Public Sector (Governance) Act and in the Government Instruction Manuals. These are no less stringent than the requirements of the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) which apply to the private sector.

Last updated on 14 May 2020