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Singapore proposes changes to company registry for data privacy

Singapore's national business registry, the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) is consulting on a wide array of legislative changes. One aspect of these changes seeks to address concerns company shareholders and directors have over the disclosure of their personal data filed with ACRA, namely, that such data should not be published or made available to the public. 

At the same time, there may be legitimate purposes for which ACRA may need to disclose it; for instance, to government agencies and private institutions for specified research, law enforcement or identity verification purposes. 

The key changes that are being proposed in ACRA's consultation to address the above personal data protection concerns are: 

  1. For the identification number of all individuals in ACRA’s public registers (including those of directors and shareholders of a company) to be partially masked; 
  2. For a “contact address” to be used as the default address of individuals that will be shown to the public, instead of the individual’s residential address. Such contact address may be used at the time of filing/registration, at no additional cost to the company;
  3. For all references to “name” and "full name" of individuals in ACRA-administered legislation to be standardised, such that these must refer to an individual's name as stated in their identity card, including the principal name, Chinese hanyu pinyin name, alias, Chinese hanyu pinyin alias and married name (where applicable); 
  4. For position holders and shareholders to provide and update their email addresses and mobile numbers, and business entities to provide and update their business email addresses;
  5. For ACRA’s correspondences and notices (other than summons) to be delivered to and accessed by individuals and businesses via a virtual mailbox;
  6. For ACRA to adopt a tiered framework for any disclosure of personal data, and to have the power to draw data from government agencies for filing purposes, and to use that data to verify information on its register.

The consultation will close on 28 January 2022.

Reed Smith LLP is licensed to operate as a foreign law practice in Singapore under the name and style, Reed Smith Pte Ltd (hereafter collectively, "Reed Smith"). Where advice on Singapore law is required, we will refer the matter to and work with Reed Smith's Formal Law Alliance partner in Singapore, Resource Law LLC, where necessary.

[O]ne of ACRA’s functions is to collect documents and information relating to business entities and public accountants, and to provide the public access to such data information to enhance corporate transparency and facilitate business activity and economic growth. ACRA is proposing changes to reduce the amount of data which must be filed with ACRA, so as to improve convenience to filers and the accuracy and value of the data to users, and to facilitate Government-to-Business digital correspondences with business entities.   

Tags

tech & data, data privacy, legislation, singapore, company law, corporate governance, personal data, directors, shareholders

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