Five key data protection trends in ASEAN for 2022

  • Data protection is necessary due to sophisticated breaches created by the pandemic situation in 2022.
  • More spotlights will be more on data privacy as the digital transition continues.
  • Last November, DPEX centre reported a 54% increase in DPO jobs in Singapore from 2020, with an estimated 3,700 data protection-related jobs created last year.

A recent report forecasted five key trends for data protection in ASEAN this year following the emergence of new covid variance and more dependence on online living and working. 

The DPEX Centre is the research and education arm of DPEX Network, an ever-growing collaboration of certification bodies, law firms, universities and organizations involved in data privacy from an operational perspective – a first of its kind facility in ASEAN. 

Its members include Straits Interactive, Singapore Management University, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), PECB, IAPP, EXIN, OCEG, etc.

The report by Data Protection Excellence (DPEX) Centre lists the five trends as follow:

  • Ongoing data and privacy breaches, due to covid-19 – cybercriminals will continue to make the most out of the pandemic by launching attacks on businesses that have not improved their cybersecurity . 
  • Intrusive home surveillance due to work-from-home – network security will be vulnerable to cyberattacks as remote workers access office workloads.
  • Continued interest in Data Protection Trustmark and certification for both organizations and individuals – putting cybersecurity understanding and best practices at the core. 
  • More regulatory attention on big tech, including social media, spilling over into the ASEAN region – social media control and regulations may see businesses improve their cybersecurity. 
  • Strong demand for DPOs (data protection officers) to continue in the region – solely depends if the industry can produce sufficient workforce in the field in the first place. 

Data protection necessary due to sophisticated breaches 

“Expect to see more sophisticated breaches created by the pandemic situation in 2022 – whether it involves a data breach in a contact tracing app, unauthorized use of covid-19-related personal data, or via the use of new privacy-intrusive technologies to profile or perform surveillance of individuals,” said Kevin Shepherdson CEO of Straits Interactive.

The company was recently Data Protection Trustmark (DPTM)-certified and helps businesses achieve operational compliance and manage risks through a combination of cloud technology and professional services.

 “Combine this with newly updated or newly introduced data protection laws such as China’s Personal Information Protection Law, as well as the upcoming laws in the region, in India, Thailand and Indonesia laws; we expect demand for data protection expertise and officers, or DPOs, to continue to grow,” he added.

Spotlights on data privacy 

The spotlights will be more on data privacy as the digital transition continues. Depending on the maturity of an organization’s transformation stage, some may overlook certain aspects of the security and privacy concerns at the design level.

While there is a legitimate purpose for identity verification and monitoring for covid-19 status and contact tracing, which make up the new norm in everyday lifestyle and travelling, their impacts on individual privacy remain a concern. 

The DPEX Centre expects continued breaches to result from several factors, including:

  • Increased spamming activities from companies
  • More prevalent use of software for monitoring employees and more new intrusive technologies (including artificial intelligence or AI), especially in mobile apps
  • Continued cyberattacks, as well as identity theft and phishing, involve sophisticated technologies such as deep fakes.

Last November, the centre reported a 54% increase in DPO jobs in Singapore from 2020, with an estimated 3,700 data protection-related jobs created last year. As there is growing awareness of data security issues, the centre aims to provide leadership, best practices, training, and support in the ASEAN region. 

 

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