Increasingly people in Singapore are spending more time online searching for information, shopping online and making payment. They are using an internet service provider (ISP) for accessing the internet. For getting an internet connection, the applicant has to provide personal information like the name, address, phone number, email address. The ISP also records the websites which the internet user is accessing, the activities on these websites, time spent. Hence internet users would like to find out the data protection policies of the ISP they plan to use for multiple reasons listed below.
With people spending more time online, cyber crime and identity theft is increasing. People are using their email address, social media account for communication, and receiving messages from their friends, family members and business associates. Often people have enemies, like people they have fought with or college classmates who are jealous of them. So to cause losses, these enemies may steal and delete personal and business emails, if they find out the email id. In other cases, they may also steal the postal correspondence, couriers of the person they dislike, if the postal address is publicly available.
If a hacker or unethical person has the personal details of the internet user, they can misuse the information for identity theft, opening a bank account, applying for a credit card or personal loan. While the impersonator will take the loan money if the lender does not check properly, the person being impersonated may be asked to repay the loan which he has never taken. Similarly the identity theft victim may have to pay the credit card bill, for items he never purchased. The identity theft will also affect the credit score of the victim, and he will have to waste time, money to end the identity theft fraud.
Hence to prevent financial fraud, cyber crime, it is important to choose an ISP which has implemented policies to the data protection of its customers. In addition to the personal information of the customer, the ISP should also protect the financial data, like the credit card details, bank details or information about the methods used by the customer for making payment to the ISP. The ISP should also ensure that the details of how each customer is using the internet connection, which websites he is visiting, and what his online activities are remain confidential. If the customer requires customer support or other assistance, this information should also not get leaked.
The data should be properly protected using the latest data protection methods so that hackers cannot access the data. In ISPs like other organizations, employees have access to most of the customer information, and rogue employees, especially those who are leaving may leak the data. Hence it is important to ensure that the ISPs have systems to prevent disgruntled employees from leaking customer personal and financial data to competitors,cyber criminals and others. Ideally the data protection policy should be validated by a neutral third party agency, to ensure that the ISP has the proper systems in place to prevent data breaches.