Sharon Chan, Sistic's Senior Executive, Corporate & Marketing Communications, has responded to Irene Hoe's concern with giving her personal data over the Internet in the customer survey.
In an email to Irene, she said: "... we would like to assure you that the survey software we are using offers SSL encryption so your details are encrypted while being transmitted to us.
"The reason why we ask for an ID number is for us to verify that the winner who comes to collect the prize is indeed the person who responded to the survey. We will request for a copy of their ID and check it against the info in the survey. With an attractive prize of iPads, we need to be doubly sure!
"As for birth dates, we use that information to help us understand the
demographics of our respondents."
Unfortunately, Irene was not convinced. She wrote back:
"To be valid and useful, a market survey does not need such complete and detailed personal ID information, especially that which can be subject to misuse.
"It is well and good that you say you encrypt this. But it is still no guarantee that my personal information will be completely secure in your hands. Moreover, customers have absolutely NO assurance that you will not sell on this information, no matter what you say in an email. An email is not legally binding.
"As I stated, if you asked for the last four digits and alphabet of a customer's IC number instead of the whole thing, you would still be able to verify ID.
"The chances that there would be TWO people with the same name and ICs with exactly the same last four digits AND alphabet are nil.
"Even if I can understand why you want all this information in a form that can be easily hacked - I am unwilling to risk identity theft.
"Besides, I already own an iPad.
"I am a regular if not frequent customer and for that reason, am not ordinarily averse to giving feedback at any time, providing the questions are few and relevant and the format does not insist on so many personal details."