PDPA compliance for MCSTs is a must since they collect and manage data like any other organization. This is to ensure that data breaches and the consequence of paying a hefty fine are avoided.
Composition of MCST and its duties and function
According to the Advisory Guidelines for Management Corporations by the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) that was issued on March 11, 2019, an MCST comprises the subsidiary proprietors of all lots within the specific strata title plan (an “estate”), which could be residential buildings in Singapore such as condominiums and apartments, or commercial buildings such as medical centers, shopping malls, and offices. Accordingly, under the PDPA, an MCST is considered an organization. With this, PDPA Compliance for MCSTs is a must.
Under the Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act (BMSMA), MCSTs are required to carry out duties and functions, which include properly maintaining the common property. In performing these duties and functions, MCSTs are required to collect individuals’ personal data for several purposes.
For example, in preparing and maintaining a strata roll, MCSTs are required to collect the address and name of the subsidiary proprietor, the name of any mortgagee of the lot, and the name of the representative of the subsidiary proprietor where such subsidiary proprietor is a company. It is also required on the part of MCST to request a written notice from the subsidiary proprietors for their addresses in Singapore. These subsidiary proprietors must provide the names and addresses of the proxy giver or holder in the proxy form.
Moreover, under the BMSMR, it is also compulsory for the MCSTs to collect the names, and addresses of elected members of the council and executive committee of the MCST and their NRIC/FIN numbers.
PDPA Compliance for MCST
Considering that MCSTs are regarded as an organization, and it is an inherent nature of the MCST to handle and manage data, the Personal Data Protection Act applies to the MCST and must comply with the regulations about data protection provisions of such Act.
Two cases to date highlight the PDPA Compliance for MCSTs; these are the decisions and undertaking regarding the alleged data breach of Exceltec Property Management Pte Ltd and Eagle Eye Security Management Services Pte Ltd.
Under Exceltec Property Management Pte Ltd, the PDPC ruled that when there is a disclosure of individual personal data, and the disclosure was necessary as part of the dissemination of minutes of meetings and voter lists, and such data was already publicly available, then such disclosure does not violate the PDPA.
Under the Eagle Eye Security Management Services Pte Ltd, the PDPC issued a warning regarding the failure to safeguard the visitor logbook of the Condominium containing personal data. Such logbook includes the dates and times of entry and the visitor’s NRIC numbers. The PDPC highlights that the security company should secure the logbook and lay adequate policies and processes to prevent this from happening again.
We can infer from these decisions that when the personal information is not to be subject to disclosure, such as a personal addresses of Singaporean citizens, their name, and NRIC information, except in cases where the data is already made public, the PDPC can go after organizations when there is a breach, even if the breach was due to a simple logbook disclosure. With this, PDPA Compliance for MCST is a must or else face a hefty fine which could range up to 1,000,000 SGD.
PDPA Compliance for MCSTs: Hiring a DPO
Another way of limiting any breach and facing a hefty fine is hiring a Data Protection Officer (DPO). The DPO’s importance lies in ensuring that all the compliance with the PDPA is met. Under the PDPC, MCSTs are required to hire a DPO and have the following responsibilities laid in the Advisory Guidelines for Management Corporations.
a. Putting together a personal data protection policy that sets out the purposes for which personal data may be collected, used, or disclosed by the MCST as well as other data protection practices of the MCST to ensure compliance with the PDPA and making information about this policy available to all stakeholders;
b. Raising awareness and fostering a culture of data protection among staff (e.g., estate security guard), subsidiary proprietors, estate residents, and council as well as executive committee members of the MCST;
c. Developing and implementing policies and processes for the proper handling and management of personal data protection-related queries and complaints (e.g., access and correction requests) and making information about the complaints process available on request; and
d. Alerting the MCST to any risks that might arise with regard to the collection, use, or disclosure of personal data.
PDPA Compliance for MCST is similar to any other organization. Since they handle data and manage it for day-to-day business, they are also liable for any breaches of personal information that come their way.
The PDPA Compliance for MCST is proof that in Singapore when an organization involves personal data, it is strict in ensuring that it will not be breached for the security of everyone.