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Query on NRIC numbers

We’ve received the following query from a visitor to the site, which we are reproducing with their kind permisson:

Thank you for organising this campaign that seeks to protect and fight for the rights of Singapore’s women folks. Obviously I agree with the view point that rape is rape and marriage should not also legalise rape. I’ve signed the petition as well, but perhaps a little too quickly because now there is a burning question in my mind.

The petition form requires the filling in of the NRIC number, which the site says is only for validation purposes. May I know what that ‘validation’ might be, assuming that none of the organisers are from government agencies that have access to such records. Also, how do you intend to handle these private information, especially after the campaign? And how would you ensure of zero chance of abuse?

I’ve typed in my NRIC, but a friend who also signed for the petition, told me she did not do so and her entry showed up all the same, all the more reason for my worries. If it is not necessary to input the NRIC for the petition in the first place, why the inclusion of that choice?

Our response is as follows:

Thank you for your email and for your support. We understand your concerns and think they are important ones.

We collect this information to enhance the credibility of the petition. NRIC numbers and other data are not shared with the public, but will be included in the final submission of the petition to the Prime Minister. They confirm the uniqueness of each signature and corroborate that the number of signatures is an accurate indication of the number of people who have signed up to the petition. Other methods are less reliable, e.g. one person could sign up for multiple email addresses, or someone could falsely claim to be a Singapore citizen or Permanent Resident.

Regarding preventing abuse, the information submitted in the form is password-protected and accessible only to the No To Rape core team members (three individuals) and the web designer. Data privacy concerns are very important to us, and we will act to investigate and address any complaints immediately. One indication of how seriously we take this is that we generally avoid sending even unsolicited email to those who sign the petition (the No To Rape mailing list sign-up is separate from the petition signing form).

No To Rape has started this petition because we think it is in the public interest. Unlike many of the companies that collect NRIC data on a regular basis (for example, for lucky draws in shopping centres or to give customers free gifts), we have no commercial interest in signatories or the data they provide.

If any of you has any other queries on this subject, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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This entry was posted on Friday, August 14th, 2009 at 3:24 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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