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The Reasonableness Standard of Compliance in the Singapore Personal Data Protection Act

Warren B Chik

(2022) 34 SAcLJ 352

The “reasonableness test” establishes the threshold of compliance and accountability under the Singapore Personal Data Protection Act. This “open-ended” test is flexible enough to take into account and react to changes in the scope and uses of personal data to maintain an equilibrium between the interest of individuals in the protection of their personal information on the one hand and the needs of organisations for access to, and the use of, such data on the other. This article seeks to provide a better understanding of how the test works by comparing it to the objective and function of the fair use doctrine in copyright law, and by evaluating how the test has been used and adapted to different situations, obligations and forms of personal data (particularly in the context of the consent and purpose obligations). The importance of keeping the test independent of the concept of “personal data” will also be considered.