Personal Data Protection

February 2020 | Dios Kurniawan

Indonesian lawmakers will soon ratify the new law on personal data protection, called Undang-undang Perlindungan Data Pribadi (UU PDP). At the heart of this new law is a stringent safeguard measure on privacy rights. Personal data protection is part of human rights, and the law carries heavy criminal penalties for fraud and misuse of personal data. There is a criminal sanction of 7 years in prison or a fine of 70 billion Rupiah (!) for anyone involved in unlawful use of personal data.

If you run a business and you regularly collect customer’s data, remember that the personal data belongs to your customers. The ownership remains with your customers even though the data sits on your system’s hard drive. In order for you to process the data, the customers must give explicit consent. Without it, you are breaking the law. 

So what constitutes a personal data? According the latest draft of the law, there are two types of personal data:

  1. General Personal Data, that is, data which could easily identify who someone is. This includes full name, gender, nationality, passport number and NIK (national ID number). Birth date, home address, work address, photographs also belong to this category.
  2. Specific Personal Data, that is, sensitive data which could harm someone if it falls into the wrong hands. This category of personal data requires different kind of protection. This includes medical information, biometrics, genetics, political views, financial data, religion and family information. Credit card number, bank account information, mother’s name, geolocation data are also categorized as specific personal data.

What about phone numbers and e-mail addresses? There can be multiple interpretation of the law with regard to this, but it is safe to consider that phone numbers and e-mails are not categorized as personal data. They fall into the category of pseudonym data, which is a type of data that requires additional data before it can be used to identify someone. Although not explicitly mandated by law, to protect the customers, phone numbers and email addresses must also be protected.

For us who work in the field of big data analytics, what are the do’s and don’ts when it comes to handling customer’s data? Just remember that by law, we are personally responsible for our actions. Here is a few guideline for you:

  1. Treat customer data with respect. The data is not yours.
  2. Do not touch specific/sensitive personal data unless you have a very strong reason to do so. Avoid making analysis based on this category of data.
  3. Protect personal data with encryption in the physical level.
  4. Each time you need to deliver data, a report, or to grant table access to your users, check to make sure there is no personal data within. If you are transferring data to an external party, be certain you have the legal clearance before doing so. Ask for written evidence. 
  5. Never reveal customer’s personal data to friends, relatives or family members. Never.
  6. Destroy customer’s personal data when they are no longer our customers (that is, they have churned).

In the age of big data, those who own data hold the power. The famous quote “along with great power comes great responsibility” perfectly describes the situation.