The Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) of Singapore has announced the launch of its new Data Protection Officer  Competency Framework and Training Roadmap, which is designed to help Data Protection Officers’ (DPO) perform their jobs more effectively.

DPO’s are key to the country’s data protection framework as they support the responsible use of data and help to drive data innovation.

The commission also appointed Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) as Singapore’s Accountability Agent (AA) for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Cross Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) and Privacy Recognition for Processors (PRP) Systems certifications.

What this combination of acronyms translates to essentially is that IMDA will help facilitate cross-border data flow between countries under APEC.

PDPC, supported by National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) Employment and Employability Institute (e2i), and NTUC LearningHub, will be launching a 12-month pilot programme to train and upskill DPOs.

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These data protection-related courses will be available from the fourth quarter of 2019, and expected to benefit at least 500 DPOs in the first year.

Gilbert Tan, CEO of NTUC’s e2i said, “Data is an increasingly vital resource needed for timely business decisions. e2i, together with NTUC, will help to operationalise the new Framework by reaching out to working professionals, whose job function includes data protection, and equipping them with relevant skill sets to manage, protect and govern data.”

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Singapore is the third economy after the US and Japan to operationalise the system, and certifications are now open for applications by all companies.

To encourage more organisations to apply for CPBR and PRP certifications, IMDA will waive the APEC CBPR and PRP Systems application fees for SMEs until 30 June 2020. Enterprise Singapore will also support Singapore-based organisations in adopting the certifications by defraying assessment and consultancy costs.

The APEC CBPR and PRP certifications will complement the IMDA’s Data Protection Trustmark certification. Organisations interested in applying for both certifications can do so via an integrated application process.