Here’s Why It Isn’t Illegal To Sell The Personal Data Of oBike Customers

oBike Riders Have Little Legal Recourse To Protect Their Personal Data

oBike users were aghast this week to find out they might not get their deposits back.


They are going to turn a shade paler when they realise that they have little control over the personal data they provided the bike-sharing company.

Everything from their credit card details to their phone numbers and email addresses may be constituted as oBike’s assets.

Assets that liquidators may be able to sell, according to lawyers that The Straits Times spoke to.

To make matters worse, it appears that customers may have little legal recourse against oBike’s liquidators.

What does the law say?

Let’s explain why oBike’s liquidators can sell your data.

Insolvency laws

Liquidators are empowered under insolvency laws to sell oBike’s assets to fulfill the company’s obligations to creditors.

Therefore, personal data, which is part of the company’s assets, will likely be sold.


But what about the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA), which governs the collection, use and disclosure of personal data by organisations?

The PDPA lacks clarity about how data should be dealt with in the event a company becomes insolvent.

Lawyer Koh Chia Ling said,

Currently, the laws do not provide for express obligations in respect of personal data in the event of winding up.

Data held overseas? Another headache.

Meanwhile, things get more complicated if oBike’s overseas operations are holding in to Singapore users’ personal data.

Mr Koh added,

It may be difficult for the Singapore authorities to successfully take enforcement action against oBike overseas.

So there.

My deposit whyyy

For those still gek sim about their deposit, but don’t actually know why they’re not getting it back.

Here’s a simple explanation.

Unsecured creditors

oBike riders are unsecured creditors. Thus, the company does not owe them any assets.

Liquidators will sell assets to pay off secured creditors first.

The unsecured ones will come later – if they come at all.

Things definitely don’t look too optimistic for riders because the company’s earnings went south last year. It lost some S$4.25 million in 2017.


Mourn for oBike, mourn for self

A few days ago, we felt sorry for the first corporate victim of Singapore’s bike-sharing market.

Today, we feel more upset for ourselves.


Featured image from Wikipedia.

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