News

Onus on us to protect details

TNP reporter among 317,000 club members affected

COMMENT

That I have agreed to my editor's suggestion to write this reflects how violated I feel.

That I have decided to leave out my byline indicates how I fear this violation can extend to my family members.

I found my name - there are two entries - on the list of K Box's membership database that was exposed by a group with the moniker The Knowns.

My brother was the first to send me a screengrab of one entry in a Whatsapp message yesterday morning.

My immediate response was to check what personal details were included in the leak.

Of course, the two that concerned me most were my NRIC number and home address.

My reaction was to utter a string of expletives.

My next reaction was one of bewilderment: Why would a KTV chain - there are 12 outlets - need our personal details, including our NRIC numbers, phone numbers, residential addresses and marital status?

What has that got to do with the innocent intent to unwind and sing some songs?

For the record, I can count on one hand the number of times I have been to a K Box outlet.

The only reason I am a member is that K Box's former management used to co-host media conferences with record labels and film companies.

Perhaps, as others may argue, we could be overreacting to this data leak. How much damage 
can be done with an NRIC number, phone number or address?

Sure our addresses and landline numbers can be found in that thing called a telephone directory.

But having your IC number exposed is quite a different ball game. It could lead to a whole lot of trouble. (See main story.)

This incident exposes how careless we can be with the information that we share with businesses.

ONCE YOU SHARE...

No matter how IT-savvy we are (at least I'd like to think I am), and think we are able to protect our personal data on devices such as our mobile phones and computers, the reality is, the minute you share it with someone else, nothing remains confidential.

Since July, the collection, use and disclosure of personal data has come under the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA).

Those found not complying face consequences under the Act.

But the PDPA does not seek to limit an organisation's business or ability to collect and use customers' information.

The onus is on us to exercise more discretion and caution in the kind of details that we share.

You do not want to wake up one morning, like I did yesterday, to news that your precious details have been leaked.

Thankfully, I do not have any nude photos worth leaking.