Personal Data Protection

SMU Personal Data Protection Statement

SMU respects the privacy of individuals and recognizes the importance of the personal data you have entrusted to us and believe that it is our responsibility to properly manage, protect, process and disclose your personal data. We are also committed to adhering to the provisions and principles of the Personal Data Protection Act 2012. As such, this Personal Data Protection Statement is to assist you in understanding how we collect, use and/or disclose your personal data. 

We will collect, use and disclose your personal data in accordance with the Personal Data Protection Act 2012 (“Act”). The Act establishes a data protection law that comprises various rules governing the collection, use, disclosure and care of personal data. It recognises both the rights of individuals to protect their personal data, including rights of access and correction, and the needs of organisations to collect, use or disclose personal data for legitimate and reasonable purposes.

The Act takes into account the following concepts:

  • Consent – Organisations may collect, use or disclose personal data only with the individual's knowledge and consent (with some exceptions);
  • Purpose – Organisations may collect, use or disclose personal data in an appropriate manner for the circumstances, and only if they have informed the individual of purposes for the collection, use or disclosure; and
  • Reasonableness – Organisations may collect, use or disclose personal data only for purposes that would be considered appropriate to a reasonable person in the given circumstances.

In projecting the three main concepts above, the Act contains nine main obligations which organisations are expected to comply with if they undertake activities related to the collection, use and/or disclosure of personal data:-

(1)     The Consent Obligation
(2)     The Purpose Limiting Obligation
(3)     The Notification Obligation
(4)     The Access and Correction Obligation
(5)     The Accuracy Obligation
(6)     The Protection Obligation
(7)     The Retention Limitation Obligation
(8)     The Transfer Limitation Obligation
(9)     The Openness Obligation

While we will not be going into the details of these Obligations in this Personal Data Protection Statement, you can be rest assured that we are constantly mindful of them in our collection, use and disclosure of personal data. Should you wish to know more about these obligations, an excellent summary can be found in the Advisory Guidelines of the Personal Data Protection Commission at:


1.      Purpose for the Collection, Use & Disclosure of Personal Data

In general, subject to applicable exceptions permitted in the Act, before we collect any personal data from you, we will notify you of the purposes for which your personal data may be collected, used and/or disclosed, as well as obtain consent for the collection, use and/or disclosure of your personal data for the intended purpose.

Depending on your relationship with us, the personal data which we collect from you may be used and/or disclosed for the following purpose:


For Students Generally

Most of you will have consented to SMU using your personal data in the manner set out in the online matriculation form used when you first matriculated into SMU; or when you use specific services and facilities offered by the University;  or when students are notified by the University administration of new rules and policies applicable to the student body and are deemed to have consented to the same. The information below serves only to supplement and clarify this matter, without limiting the scope of your earlier consent:

(a)    Evaluating suitability for admission or employment, enrolling or employing, providing educational courses and training, including sending materials on course / study / assignment / lecture materials, information on time tables and examination details via various means, including postal mail, electronic mail, SMS or MMS, fax and/or voice calls;

(b)     Administering and/or managing relationships with SMU (including responding to enquiries, the mailing of correspondence, statements or notices which could involve the disclosure of certain personal data to bring about delivery of the same);

(c)    Carrying out due diligence or other screening activities (including background checks) in accordance with legal or regulatory obligations or risk management procedures that may be required by law or put in place by SMU, including the obtaining of references and/or other information from prior educational institutions and employers;

(d)    Processing application(s) for scholarships and/or financial aid, and research support, and administering and managing scholarship/financial aid/grant and other support programmes, which may include use of personal data for development and fund raising activities and disclosure of personal data to donors, grantors, external evaluators and/or external organisations for purposes of assessment, periodic reports, event invitations, surveys and/or publicity of SMU related programmes;

(e)    Investigative purposes, including possible fraud, misconduct, unlawful action or omission, and utilizing electronic access and video systems to maintain campus security of persons or property, control access and investigate suspicious or inappropriate activities;

(f)     Responding to requests for information from government or public agencies, ministries, statutory boards or other similar authorities or non-government agencies authorised to carry out specific Government services or duties;

(g)    Carrying out market-related, evaluative or similar research and analysis for SMU’s operational strategy and policy planning purposes, including providing data to external parties for university programme evaluation and to students’ former academic institutions and to partner institutions for jointly-administered programmes;

(h)     Outreach and engagement to garner support and resources for SMU, its community and affiliated institutions;

(i)     Supporting SMU functions including, but not restricted to, the teaching and personal and professional development of students, research and administration of SMU;

(j)     Processing and administering applications for overseas exchange programmes, summer school, overseas internships and other overseas activities and administering such programmes including disclosure of information to overseas universities / institutions, employment  and training organisations;

(k)    Processing, administering and conferring awards of prizes, medals, scholarships, classes of honours and other marks of distinction, and student or graduation status, and publication or releasing of information on the same;

(l)     Engaging alumni including but not limited to notification on SMU and alumni-related initiatives and activities, invitation to SMU and alumni-related events, updating of alumni information, invitation to participate in alumni surveys and sending of communication collaterals;

(m)   Processing applications and enrolment activities related to health, life and travel insurance and service provision as well as university-related concession cards, and campus accommodation and administering matters related to use of these services;

(n)    Processing applications for and administering local and overseas career related activities, events, programmes, internships, employment opportunities, and career coaching, and sharing information with companies (whether local or overseas) for purposes of recruitment, internship , industrial attachment, job placement and research support;

(o)    Facilitating participation in student life and alumni development opportunities which may include social, cultural, athletic, and educational activities, events, volunteering and training programmes, student membership and leadership positions in clubs, societies, halls and residences, and orientation/reception activities;

(p)    Taking of photographs and/or videos (whether by SMU staff or third party photographers and/or videographers) during events or seminars organised by SMU or its affiliates for publicity purposes;

(q)     If consented to in the registration form and/or other methods of consent notification, providing marketing, advertising and promotional information via postal mail, electronic mail, SMS or MMS, fax and/or voice calls;

(r)        Any other purpose arising in respect of the environment within which an institution of higher learning such as SMU operates which is reasonable given your relationship with SMU;

(s)     Any other purposes not related to those listed above or in the online matriculation form to which you consented, which SMU may inform you of in writing from time to time, but for which SMU will seek your separate consent.


For Employees/Staff Generally

In order to comply with its contractual, statutory, and management obligations and responsibilities, the University is required to process personal data relating to its employees. All such data will be processed in accordance with the provisions of the Act and the relevant University’s rules and policies, including those on data protection, as may be amended from time to time. Your relationship with SMU will, in almost all cases, be governed primarily by an employment Contract, and your agreement to be bound by the Employee Handbook and/or Governance and Academic Policies Handbook (which may be revised from time to time), any of which will very often inform you expressly or impliedly the purposes for, and the manner in, which your personal data will be used. The purposes listed below serve only to supplement and clarify the matter, without limiting, superseding or supplanting any express or implied terms in the abovementioned documents:  

(a)       for managing your employment relationship with SMU;

(b)       for using your bank account details to deposit salaries and other payments;

(c)       for monitoring the use of SMU’s computer network resources;

(d)       for posting your photographs on SMU’s intranet and website, staff pass, newsletters and the like;

(e)       for managing staff benefit schemes;

(f)        for disclosing your personal data where necessary to external parties for purposes of University administration, and to Government agencies for official purposes and disclosed to external third parties for, or in connection with, the above purposes, or where required by law;

(g)       any other purpose arising in respect of the environment within which an institution of higher learning such as SMU operates which is reasonable given your relationship with SMU

(h)       any other purposes not related to those listed above or in your employment contract, which SMU may inform you of in writing from time to time, but for which SMU will seek your separate consent.



For The Public and Other Third Parties Generally

SMU is committed to engaging and embracing its surrounding community, ecosystem as well as society at large. As a result, we often organise a lot of activities in which external stakeholders or the general public are invited to participate. While it is impossible to list all the events in which we hope the public will participate, some events that you as a member of the public can look forward to include community outreach programmes, talks, exhibitions, movie screenings, concerts and many others (Events). Naturally, in encouraging a vibrant interaction with the public, there will be opportunity, and often a need, to collect, use and/or disclose personal data from members of the public. Some of the reasons/ purposes are as follows:

(a)     For security/ verification purposes for certain Events

(b)     For logistical/ administrative purposes for certain Events (eg. Food catering)

(c)     To keep you updated of future SMU Events/ products which we feel may interest you

(d)     For marketing/ publicity purposes (eg. Photographs)

(e)     For any other purpose arising in respect of the environment within which an institution of higher learning such as SMU operates which is reasonable given your relationship with SMU.


In almost all of the above situations, it will be totally up to you as to whether, and to what extent, you wish to provide us with your personal data. For Events where such provision of personal data is a pre-requisite to attendance, you shall be informed in advance so that you may make an informed decision as to whether to attend. SMU will also endeavour at all times to inform you of the purposes for which personal data collected from you will be used. Should you at any time feel that the manner in which SMU has acted, or seeks to act, in respect of the collection, use or disclosure of personal data for an Event is inappropriate, please feel free to make your concerns known to the Data Protection Officer, whose contact details can be found at


2.    Disclosure of Personal Data to Third Parties

We will not disclose your personal data to any third parties without first obtaining your consent permitting us to do so or unless any such disclosure is permitted under any of the statutory exemptions under the Act . In this respect, please note that we may disclose your personal data to third parties in certain circumstances without first seeking your consent, if such disclosure is either required or permitted under the Act, including without limitation, if the disclosure is required by law and/or regulations or if there is an emergency.   


3.    Request for Access, Correction and/or Withdrawal of Personal Data

Subject to certain exceptions in the Act, you may request   to access and/or correct the personal data currently in our possession   or withdraw your consent for the collection, use and disclosure of your personal data in our possession at any time by clicking here.

For a request to access personal data, we will provide you   with the relevant personal data within a reasonable time from such   request being made.

For a request to correct personal data, we will process   your request, including undertaking necessary verification activities,   as soon as practicable after the request has been made. We will send the   corrected personal data to every other organisation to which the   personal data was disclosed by SMU within a year before the date the   correction was made, unless that other organisation does not need the   corrected personal data for any legal or business purpose, or if you so   consent, only to specific organisations to which the personal data was   disclosed by us within a year before the date the correction was made.   You may be charged a reasonable fee for the handling and processing of   your requests to access and/or correct your personal data, but you will   be notified in advance of such costs.

For a request to withdraw consent, we will process your   request within a reasonable time from such a request for withdrawal of   consent being made. In some cases, requests for withdrawal of consent   may adversely impact your relationship with SMU as it may hinder SMU’s   ability to continue to interact with you. We will notify you in advance   of such impact, if any.


4.    Administration and Management of Personal Data

We will take appropriate measures to keep your personal data accurate, complete and updated.

We will also take reasonable efforts to take appropriate precautions and preventive measures to ensure that your personal data is adequately protected and secured. Appropriate security arrangements will be taken to prevent any unauthorized access, collection, use, disclosure, copying, modification, leakage, loss, damage and/or alteration of your personal data.

We will also take reasonable efforts to ensure that the personal data in our possession or under our control is destroyed as soon as it is reasonable to assume that (i) the purpose for which that personal data was collected is no longer being served by the retention of such personal data; and (ii) retention is no longer necessary for any other legal or business purposes.

Our websites may contain links to other websites not maintained by SMU. Such third party websites are subject to their own data protection and privacy practices and you are encouraged to examine the data protection policies of those websites. 



5.      Responsibility of EMPLOYEES (Staff, Faculty), STUDENTS AND OTHER STAKEHOLDERS

The Act also imposes certain responsibilities on all those who process personal data at the University, whether you are a member of staff holding, using and sharing personal data in your teaching, research or administration, or a student accessing and recording personal data in your studies or other activities. These obligations include holding and using data in a secure manner, making sure that data is handled in line with what individuals have been told, having appropriate arrangements in place for the access to (and sharing of) data, and making sure that individuals' data is accurate and retained for a suitable period. If a data breach occurs (e.g. personal data held by the University is lost, stolen, inadvertently disclosed to an external party, or accidentally published), this should be reported immediately to your seniors and the Data Protection Officer so that we may review the circumstances and liaise as necessary with colleagues internally and the relevant external authorities.

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