Privacy White Lists - Don't be Fooled (2009)

2.2. Singapore – CommerceNet

The Singapore Government promotes a generic e-commerce trustmark known as TrustSG. It is provided by multiple organisations, the largest of which is CommerceNet Singapore. It is a generic ecommerce seal with short privacy requirements. There are approximately 340 members.[5]

TrustSG is an initiative of the National Trust Council (NTC). The council is industry led with support from the Government through the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA).

When a consumer clicks on the trustmark a verification page appears with the following statement:

This member has been awarded the TrustSg seal as it adheres to the Code of Practice set by CommerceNet Singapore Ltd to promote good e-business practices.

To save time, the Galexia study examined the first 168 organisations on the CommerceNet white list (50% of the total). The Galexia study did not examine the remaining smaller provider of TrustSG seals in Singapore.

The Galexia study made the following findings:



Non-Compliance %

No working seal

A working seal does not appear on the organisation’s web site


Membership has expired

The membership is not current


Privacy policy not available

The organisation’s privacy policy is not available


Overall non-compliance

Cumulative total



It was difficult to study the CommerceNet white list as it is out-of-date. The list was visited on numerous occasions between February and April 2009 and it was clear that the expiry dates listed on the site were not being updated or maintained. At the time of completion of this article (14 April 2009) the CommerceNet white list describes ALL members as ‘expired’.[6]

This is a good example of the problems consumers may have when relying upon out of date white lists. For the purposes of the study Galexia visited each site and clicked on the seal (where available). The expiry date was checked by analysing the verification page, rather than relying on the white list.

CommerceNet Strengths

  • The CommerceNet white list is available to the public;
  • The privacy seal is ‘self-served’ (served from CommerceNet’s domain) and is considered current best practice;
  • A deep verification link is provided wherever the seal appears; and
  • The privacy standards are published.

CommerceNet Weaknesses

  • The entire white list is out of date (it shows that all seals have expired);
  • A very high proportion of sites were not displaying the seal at all.

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