Sunday, January 08, 2006

Singaporeans suddenly privacy conscious?

Singapore is an interesting case study for privacy concerns. It's a well-established fact that the general public's privacy concerns are inversely related to the public's trust that Government or the judicial system will protect them against breaches and violations.

I lost count of the times that speakers in work groups or fora in Singapore pointed out that Singaporeans are not very privacy conscious because they're used to rely on their famously effective Government to protect them. And to date the Direct Marketing Association's Do Not Mail Registry has received 6 (six) registrations.

So the fact that a recently started national health survey ran into trouble because of respondent's fear of data leaks can be seen as quite a sea change. Apparently, so does the Straits Times, considering the fact that they made it the front page leader of the Saturday edition.

Worrying as this might be to Singaporean authorities (who aim to invest S$100m in this study over the next 10-15 years), it reflects developments elsewhere. Take for instance the 120 million registrants for the US Do Not Call Register, or the privacy backlash against Google's Gmail service.

Does the Singaporean acid test forebode drastic attitute changes across the globe? To be continued.

No comments: