Is that your name, address, phone number in the dump?

Is that your name, address, phone number in the dump?
Grace Chng, The Straits Times, Sunday, Mar 15, 2015


What reporter found in trash bins.

The Sunday Times went to a number of high-rise office buildings in Raffles Place on a weekday afternoon, and found it easy to gain access to garbage bins which were kept in unlocked enclosures.

In the trash were many clean, printed documents and e-mail, including the following:

– A law firm’s business expansion plan, with personal details of lawyers it hoped to get on board, including their photographs, educational background and work history.

Under the Personal Data Protection Act, this is potential infringement because photos, names and professional information were disposed of improperly.

– Photocopies of pages from the passports of two children opening an account with a foreign bank.

The photocopies were accompanied by forms filled and signed by the children.

Under the Act, this is potential infringement as personal data like a person’s name, photo, date of birth and passport number was disposed of improperly.

– A property lease agreement containing the name, employment pass and passport numbers of a foreign bank employee.

The lease was between a real estate company and the bank.

This is potential infringement under the Act because the employment pass and passport numbers are personal information that was not disposed of properly.

– A document from a real estate company listing details of commissions received by four property agents who clinched a significant rental deal.

The amount that each agent received was listed.

This potentially infringes the Act because information about property agents and the commissions they received is personal data that was not disposed of properly.


Personal data protection specialist Straits Interactive has conducted audits of 50 companies to check if they are ready to comply with the new Act.

It came up with this checklist after finding five common areas of weakness.

– DO use a shredder or a document disposal service to dispose of documents containing personal data.

– DO NOT throw away or recycle paper with personal data.

– DO keep all documents with personal information in cabinets.

– DO NOT expose confidential files on staff desks or shelves where unauthorised passers-by can see or pick them up easily.

– DO put up reminders at copiers, fax machines or printers telling users to take all personal documents when they are done.

– DO NOT leave behind passports, identity cards, resumes and other confidential information at these machines.

– DO record and track who has access to keys to cabinets and drawers where confidential files are kept.

– DO NOT leave keys hanging in keyholes.

– DO ensure that screen savers for PCs and laptops have password protection. DO NOT leave PC and laptop screens exposed when users are not around.

One Response to “Is that your name, address, phone number in the dump?”

  1. shuutech Says:

    Yes! And also, make sure your back up disks, full of sensitive data is securely wiped before chucked out. I wrote a blog about this

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