November 01, 2019

Protect Your Data Whilst Travelling

The month of December is usually the time for vacations, when individuals and families unwind and take a well-deserved year end break to recharge before the new year. However before you let your hair down, it’s essential to make sure that your personal information stays protected, with the risk of a potential data leak relatively high when one is unguarded.
In Singapore, personal data protection is governed by the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA), but those travelling abroad must be wary of any personal data they provide.
Your personal data is at risk
Hotels collect personal data as a form of identification for all guests, but various other situations could put personal data at risk.
Individuals should be aware that data thieves and data mongers can compromise their personal data anywhere and at any time. Prime spots for data theft include your hotel room and public spaces, including restaurants or cafes. When left unprotected in your own hotel room, personal data from electronic devices and personal documents can be easily stolen or downloaded by criminals. Restaurants and cafes are also places where data hackers could strike, by easily looking over your shoulder at your personal electronic devices when you are unaware and listening to your phone calls and private conversations.
Another way for hackers to access your personal data would be through unsecured Wi-fi and VPN connections. Unsecured networks lack the security features to protect information, leaving you vulnerable to hacking.
Keeping your personal data safe
There are many ways to keep your personal data[1] safe while enjoying the holidays. Take note of these simple measures to keep yourself safe whilst travelling.

  • Remove sensitive data from electronic devices before travelling such as stored credit card details in smart phones and documents containing sensitive information
  • Create strong passwords to protect personal information
  • Install up to date antivirus software
  • Keep electronic devices secure and in sight while in public spaces
  • Be aware of your surroundings
  • Use privacy screens for electronic devices
  • Purchase a safe and secure VPN or mobile data
  • Only log on to secure Wi-Fi networks
  • Turn off Bluetooth to prevent hackers from accessing your personal data
  • Keep confidential documents such as passports and electronic devices in a hotel room safe.

When it comes to data protection, both physical and personal data is valuable, and hoteliers also play a part in protecting personal data collected from their guests. To ensure that data is kept secure, hoteliers should abide by the PDPA guidelines and follow the 9 data protection obligations[2] which include consent, purpose, openness and several others. Hoteliers could also appoint a Data Protection Officer (DPO) to keep their data and accommodation secure.
If your personal data has been used without consent, you should report this to the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC).
Start protecting your business
An organisation that integrates data protection into its business processes can reduce data breach risks and PDPA non-compliance. Learn more about how Shred-it can protect your documents and hard-drives by contacting us for a free quote and security risk assessment.

[1] Federal Communications Commission. 2018. Cybersecurity Tips for International Travellers. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 12 October 2019].
[2] Personal Data Protection Commission. 2018. Data Protection Starter Kit. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 12 October 2019].