Private actions under the Personal Data Protection Act must suffer loss within common law heads of loss
On 25 May 2021, the Singapore High Court provided long-awaited clarifications on the scope of private actions under the Personal Data Protection Act 2012 (PDPA). It was held that in order to succeed in a private action under the PDPA, the claimant must suffer loss or damage that falls within the common law heads of loss or damage (such as pecuniary loss, damage to property, and personal injury including psychiatric illness) directly as a result of a contravention of certain PDPA provisions.
Singapore High Court
Notably, the Singapore High Court held that distress and loss of control over personal data do not fall within such heads of loss. Claimants ought to take into account the above requirements in considering whether to bring a private action under the PDPA. Where no such loss or damage is suffered, claimants would still have recourse to alternative remedies under the PDPA to end such non-compliance, by requesting the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) to impose directions for non-compliance or financial penalties, albeit such remedies do not seek to compensate the claimant. continued