The Problems of Identity Theft in Malaysia in the Light of the Personal Data Protection (PDP) Act 2010: A Hope Rejuvenated?

By: Sonny Zulhuda

Nope, this is not (yet) a ready paper. It’s an ongoing research that I am now conducting, funded by an internal research grant. It takes as the background the revolutionary growth of the information and communications technology and its use in the storing, processing and disseminating personal information.

We all know that such phenomenon (ICT+data processing) has unveiled one huge challenge in the form of identity theft. Described as unlawful acquisitions of personal data that belongs to others, identity theft incidents are reported in Malaysian media on regular basis. The lost, stolen or compromised personal data has not become an incident of its own. Rather, it provides “ammunitions” for further action such as credit cards forgery or impersonated bank accounts that are used as a platform for further crimes.

Recently local newspapers had flooded us with news on these, such as these:

“RM4mil (Rp11.2bil) stolen within first three months”

Malaysians have lost RM4mil through phishing (identity fraud) within the first three months of the year alone. There were 457 cases recorded in the first quarter of the year, exceeding the 353 reported for the whole of last year where the victims lost a total of RM1.2mil. In 2009, only 75 cases were reported with total losses of around RM215,000. Federal Commercial Crime Investigations Department director Commissioner Datuk Syed Ismail Syed Azizan said the number of cases reported this year had reached a record high with authorities and the banking industry being almost powerless to curb it. (Click here for the report)

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