Search for:

In brief

In a recent decision by the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) in Re Fullerton Healthcare Group Pte Limited and Agape CP Holdings Pte Ltd [2023] SGPDPC 5, the PDPC found that the respondents breached the protection obligation under the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) and ordered each of them to pay a financial penalty.

Key takeaways

This is not the first PDPC decision where the PDPC emphasized the need for organizations to conduct periodic security reviews of their IT systems, and the need for organizations to exercise reasonable oversight of their vendors. Organizations should take heed of these reminders from the PDPC. The PDPC also commented that in quantifying the financial penalties to be imposed on an organization, it is immaterial that the organization is a social enterprise — the standard of security arrangements expected under the protection obligation will depend on the volume and nature of personal data in the organization’s possession or control, regardless of whether the organization is a for-profit business, a charity or a social enterprise.

In more detail

The first respondent, Fullerton Healthcare Group Pte Limited (FHG), provides healthcare services to individuals and employees of its corporate clients. It engaged the second respondent, Agape CP Holdings Pte Ltd. (“Agape“), a business process outsourcing provider and social enterprise, to provide call center and appointment booking services for its customers. Agape thus acted as FHG’s data intermediary.

To carry out the services, FHG provided Agape with access to the personal data of its customers via Microsoft SharePoint, a cloud-based document management system. Agape downloaded FHG’s customer data onto a computer and reuploaded the customer data onto an internet-facing file server (“Online Drive“) for use by Agape’s agents.

In October 2021, FHG became aware that its customer data, including their name, NRIC  number, date of birth, financial information and health information, was being offered for sale on a dark web forum. After investigations, it was discovered that the seller had exfiltrated FHG’s customer data from Agape’s Online Drive.

The PDPC found that Agape had contravened its protection obligation under the PDPA, as it failed to conduct reasonable periodic security reviews and assess the Online Drive’s security implications and risks. At the time of the incident, the password for Agape’s Online Drive had been inadvertently disabled for an estimated 20 months (since December 2019), the cause of which could not be established. This caused the Online Drive to become an open directory listing on the internet with no password protection, and highly vulnerable to unauthorized access, modification and similar risks over an excessive period.

The PDPC also found that similarly, FHG had breached its protection obligation under the PDPA. FHG failed to make sufficient enquiries as to how Agape was storing, transmitting and retaining its customer data, thereby failing to exercise reasonable oversight of Agape’s data processing activities. FHG also failed to implement robust measures to ensure that only personal data necessary for performance of the services was shared with Agape, and inadvertently disclosed personal data only intended for its employees’ internal use, onto the SharePoint system shared with Agape.

Following the incident, FHG and Agape voluntarily implemented measures to prevent a recurrence of the incident or similar events.

The PDPC ordered FHG to pay a financial penalty of SGD 58,000, and Agape to pay a financial penalty of SGD 10,000. In particular, the PDPC observed that in quantifying the financial penalties imposed, no weight was placed on Agape’s status as a social enterprise. The PDPC commented that the standard of security arrangements expected under the protection obligation will depend on the volume and nature of personal data in the organization’s possession or control, regardless of whether the organization is a for-profit business, a charity or a social enterprise.

* * * * *

For further information and to discuss what this might mean for you, please get in touch with your usual Baker McKenzie contact.

* * * * *


© 2023 Baker & McKenzie.Wong & Leow. All rights reserved. Baker & McKenzie.Wong & Leow is incorporated with limited liability and is a member firm of Baker & McKenzie International, a global law firm with member law firms around the world. In accordance with the common terminology used in professional service organizations, reference to a “principal” means a person who is a partner, or equivalent, in such a law firm. Similarly, reference to an “office” means an office of any such law firm. This may qualify as “Attorney Advertising” requiring notice in some jurisdictions. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.


Andy Leck is the head of the Intellectual Property and Technology (IPTech) Practice Group and a member of the Dispute Resolution Practice Group in Singapore. He is a core member of Baker McKenzie's regional IP practice and also leads the Myanmar IP Practice Group. Andy is recognised by reputable global industry and legal publications as a leader in his field. He was named on "The A-List: Singapore's Top 100 lawyers" by Asia Business Law Journal 2018. In addition, Chambers Asia Pacific notes that Andy is "a well-known IP practitioner who is highlighted for his record of handling major trade mark litigation, as well as commercial exploitation of IP rights in the media and technology sectors. He's been in the industry for a long time and has always been held in high regard. He is known to be very fair and is someone you would like to be in the trenches with you during negotiations." Furthermore, Asian Legal Business acknowledges Andy as a leading practitioner in his field and notes that he “always gives good, quick advice, [is] client-focused and has strong technical knowledge for his areas of practice.” Andy was appointed by the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) as an IP Adjudicator to hear disputes at IPOS for a two-year term from April 2021. He has been an appointed member of the Singapore Copyright Tribunal since May 2010 and a mediator with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center. He is also appointed as a Notary Public & Commissioner for Oaths in Singapore. He previously served on the International Trademark Association’s Board of Directors and was a member of the executive committee.


Ren Jun Lim is a principal with Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow. He represents local and international clients in both contentious and non-contentious intellectual property matters. He also advises on a full range of healthcare, as well as consumer goods-related legal and regulatory issues. Ren Jun co-leads Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow's Healthcare as well as Consumer Goods & Retail industry groups. He sits on the Law Society of Singapore IP Committee and on the Executive Committee of the Association of Information Security Professionals. He is also a member of the Vaccines Working Group, Singapore Association of Pharmaceutical Industries, a member of the International Trademark Association, as well as a member of the Regulatory Affairs Professionals Association. Ren Jun is ranked in the Silver tier for Individuals: Enforcement and Litigation and Individuals: Prosecution and Strategy, and a recommended lawyer for Individuals: Transactions by WTR 1000, 2020. He is also listed in Asia IP's Best 50 IP Expert, 2020, recognised as a Rising Star by Managing IP: IP Stars, 2019 and one of Singapore's 70 most influential lawyers aged 40 and under by Singapore Business Review, 2016. Ren Jun was acknowledged by WTR 1000 as a "trademark connoisseur who boasts supplementary knowledge of regulatory issues in the consumer products industry." He was also commended by clients for being "very responsive to enquiries and with a keen eye for detail, he is extremely hands-on. His meticulous and in-depth approach to strategising is key to the excellent outcomes we enjoy."


Ken Chia is a member of the Firm’s IP Tech, International Commercial & Trade and Competition Practice Groups. He is regularly ranked as a leading TMT and competition lawyer by top legal directories, including Chambers Asia Pacific and Legal 500 Asia Pacific. Ken is an IAPP Certified International Privacy Professional (FIP, CIPP(A), CIPT, CIPM) and a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and the Singapore Institute of Arbitrators.


Sanil is a local principal in the Intellectual Property & Technology Practice Group in Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow. Sanil is qualified in both Singapore and Australia, and is a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/A) by the International Association of Privacy Professionals. Sanil is recognized as a Rising Star by both Legal 500 Asia Pacific in the Intellectual Property: Local Firms category as well as by IP Stars for his advisory work in the IP space. Sanil is also recommended by World Trademark Review 1000 for IP enforcement, litigation, prosecution and strategy.

Write A Comment