A New Boardroom Affairs is Called ‘Data Protection’

By: Sonny Zulhuda

IMG_20161118_122932_HDRData is an asset in today’s interconnected world. With the changing digital lifestyle and emerging digital workplace, managing personal data becomes a key trust factor for organisations.

The digitalisation of process and records, mobile workplace concept, synchronisation of gadgets and data, as well as emergence of smart contract have all contributed to this change.

Internally, managing data serves as a critical assets management. Externally, it becomes a shield of legal compliance as well as a key competitive value in a more increasingly regulated environment.

In many parts of the world, Personal Data Protection (PDP) is made as a critical trade issue, including a potential trade barrier in the event of trans-border data transfer.

The EU General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) is setting a new global PDP benchmmark. Meanwhile in this part of the world, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines are already enforcing their respective PDP laws. Soon Indonesia and Thailand are following the suit with the drafting and enacting of the laws.

The requirement of PDP law raises a new set of data due diligence for organisations. Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) and data breach notification (DBN) are among those legal regime that requires careful due diligence under the PDP law.

In short, all life cycles of data management have now to be embedded in a comprehensive, cross-sectoral governance within the virtually every data-reliant organisation.

The data management policies need to be comprehensive and up-to-date. Public communication has to be real-time. For that purpose, not only do we require a specially designated high-level data protection officer (DPO), but also a regular transparency report on our data affairs.

Gone are the days that data protection is only seen as technical and trivial issues. PDP is now a boardroom issue, looking out to both reputational and legal risks and opportunities.

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From Brussels: The Islamic Legal Conceptions of Privacy

By: Sonny Zulhuda

IMG_20190130_094243Last week (1st February 2019) I concluded the International Conference on Privacy and Data Protection (CPDP2019) in the heart of Europe, City of Brussels. It is organised by a consortium of primary European universities, supported by global companies, and endorsed by the European Union institutions.

It’s the 12th edition of this annual global event on privacy & data protection. 3 days of fascinating and thought-provoking talks, speeches and discussions. Thank you @CPDPconferences for inviting me as a speaker on privacy in Islam.

Thanks to @darahallinan who initiated this panel for the first time. Entitled “Islamic Legal Conceptions of Privacy.” The idea is to understand how privacy is actually a universal value adopted by wide and global communities and traditions.

Being the first speaker, I first introduced that for every Muslim, Islam is the way of life and provides a comprehensive guidelines for both private and public interactions.

Then I spoke mainly on the evidences from the Quran (as the primary source of Islamic law) which provide basis of privacy right and how to implement it in life, starting from early childhood: they should ask parent’s permission before entering their private rooms at three specific times in a day.

I highlighted how important it is to respect others’ dignity by not transgressing their rights, not spying on them, not backbiting, not ridiculing them, and not calling them by undesired labelling/tagging.

Muslims are told to get mutual consent when affecting others’ rights, to record agreements, to enter their houses upon prior consent, and to leave if asked to. Not less importantly a command to investigate information received (verification and authentication).

Those are exactly the rights pertinent to privacy and data protection nowadays.

At the end, I noted that 1. Islam calls for peace, justice and harmony; 2. Privacy is one of important rights to be preserved; and 3. At all time, Muslims will be accountable to God, Society and oneself.

And not forgetting I also shared some updates on the privacy laws and Personal Data Protection laws in both Indonesia and Malaysia. Some good news here and there.

Thank You Chair, moderator and fellow panelists Prof Andrew Adams (Japan), Prof Elizabeth Coombs (Malta), Nighat Dad (Pakistan), Lahoussine Aniss (Marocco), and Patrick Penninckx (EU) for making it a beautiful panel. Looking forward to connecting further. Thank you @CPDPconferences.

#PrivacyinIslam #CPDP2019 #Brussels #Malaysia #Indonesia #PDPA

The Jakarta Post 22/1/2019: #10yearschallenge could simplify data collection, expert says

The following passages are copied from the report in the Jakarta Post online <https://www.thejakartapost.com/life/2019/01/21/10yearschallenge-could-simplify-data-collection-expert-says.html> which quoted my comments about the recent social media trend #10yearschallenge. It is partially reproduced here for the purpose of wider reach. Please click on the above link to the original source for the complete report.

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BIG-DATA

The #10yearschallenge has recently swept across social media, with users posting pictures of themselves in 2009 and 2019. Sonny Zulhuda, a lecturer in cyber law at the International Islamic University Malaysia and advisor at Malaysia’s Department of Personal Data Protection, said the hashtag could be a shortcut used for data collection.

Speaking to Antara news agency in Kuala Lumpur on Monday, Sonny said netizens mostly participated in the challenge for entertainment and nostalgia purposes. However, he also said users might not realize the photos could be used for other purposes that could help social media companies or third parties in their lines of work. These include improving databases of users’ faces based on age, time period, race, gender and environment.

“With such an indicative label as #10yearschallenge, data filtering and interpretation would be so much easier. It’s almost like giving a shortcut for data collection. For some people, this is hardly a new issue as the data has been stored on social media and the internet. What’s considered new is how users have made it easier for companies in regards to data curating and packaging.”

Sonny shared that big data curators could freely verify the data in their database packaging, something that is considered a difficult and important process. “This is because the verification has been done by the data owners themselves. In terms of security, it won’t be a problem should the face transformations be stored securely so they are not misused,” he added.

He also said that facial recognition technology had positive effects, such as helping to solve cases of missing people. However, he said that the same technology could be used by private investigators to spy on other people, or by parties that might use data for commercial and marketing purposes. According to Sonny, the worst possibility is if parties misuse the availability of face data for identity forgery.

“Our faces, biographical data, communications, movements and the combination of all those things are considered assets in this digital era. Let’s always be aware,” he said. (wng)

Menyoal Tren “10 Years Challenge”

By: Sonny Zulhuda

jpdp

Akhir-akhir ini pengguna media sosial pasti sudah banyak melihat foto-foto transformasi wajah yang dilabel hashtag #10yearschallenge. Tidak kurang, politisi dunia hingga artis dan selebriti pun berpartisipasi dalam trend yang satu ini. Aktivitas ini dimanfaatkan oleh masyarakat media sosial sebagai bahan hiburan dan obrolan yang menarik dan tidak jarang menggelitik.

Namun, mungkin banyak yang sadar bahwa foto-foto yang disebar itu akan memudahkan pihak media sosial atau pihak ketiga untuk melakukan beberapa pekerjaan mereka seperti:

1. Penyempurnaan database wajah individu berikut kronologi tahun dan usia.
2. Penelitian pola transformasi wajah manusia berdasarkan usia, periode, dan demografi lainnya seperti ras, gender, lingkungan, dan lainnya.
3. Pemrograman pada teknologi artificial ingelligence dalam melakukan rekaan wajah secara lebih akurat.
4. Identifikasi dan penyamaran.

Apalagi, dengan label yang sangat indikatif seperti #10yearschallenge akan semakin memudahkan penyaringan dan interpretasi data sehingga memberikan jalan pintas untuk pencarian data itu sendiri. Label hashtag itu sama dengan fungsi metadata. Semakin banyak hashtag, maka akan semakin mudah pencarian data tersebut di domain publik.

Continue reading

From Privacy Suit to EU GDPR: Data Protection Updates from Malaysia – As reported in the Borneo Post

By: Sonny Zulhuda

The beginning of the year saw my interview with the Malaysian daily the Borneo Post that was published on 1st January 2019. This interview was initiated by my colleagues from the consultancy firm Straits Interactive. The report was entitled “Malaysians increasingly aware of risks with data breach.” It can be found in this link.

The article started to to note that Malaysians now are more aware about the risks associated with breaches of their personal data. In fact, we in Malaysia have seen in the past five years, that there is a sharp increase in data privacy civil suits in the local Malaysian courts.

Among the points I highlighted in the interview are as follows:

What are the costs of data breaches?

  • The cost of data breaches can be seen in many areas. In terms of legal liabilities, companies in breach of the Malaysian PDP Act 2010 can be fined up to RM500,000 – for offences such as unlawful sale or unlawful collection of personal data, as well as collection of data without the required certificate of registration.
  • And when a data breach occurs, costs can also be incurred through technical repairs and loss of reputation. Business can also suffer because of bad publicity.
  • Civil suits can also be brought against companies, and these can cost businesses a lot of money. Malaysians are becoming increasingly more aware of the risks associated with breaches of their personal data, and we have seen a sharp increase in data privacy civil suits in the local Malaysian courts in the past five years.

Are we prepared? Here is what I said:

  • Unlike companies in the US and Europe, many companies in the Asean have yet to reach an acceptable level of preparedness. Data protection does not tend to be a part of the business culture, however some industries (banking and finance) are more prepared due to legislation and legal requirements.
  • To bolster the understanding and preparedness of other industries, we need more public awareness, training, and certified professionals in the field of data protection.

What are among the common concerns?

  • One major concern in Malaysia is how much our MyKad (ID cards) details are easily and unnecessarily exposed. Many people needlessly impose the collection or retention of MyKad details before people start business communication or interactions, enter premises, or participate in events. Unfortunately, lots of people are happy to submit these details and this gives the impression that these practices are approved and not an issue.
  • Another problem is direct marketing, as well as unsolicited commercial calls, emails and text messages. While it’s clear individuals have the right to refuse direct marketing, it still regularly happens.

What has been prepared?

  • I highlighted that leading consultant like Straits Interactive plays the role to champion a public-private partnership by establishing alliance with academia, industries and the government. This partnership will ensure Malaysia as a nation moves together and responds to data privacy issues with a common understanding and comprehensive programmes.

Does the European Union GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) have anything to do with the Malaysians?

  • With the passing and enforcement of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May 2018, Malaysia needs to gear up for these stronger laws and better enforcement.
  • The GDPR applies to companies who also interact with European citizens, and this requires short-term training programmes and certifications in the field of data protection.
  • A collaboration at the regional level is also timely and necessary. We are heading towards that.

Credit on this Interview to the Straits Interactive and the Borneo Post.

Intellectual Property Rights and Open Data in the Digital Environment

By: Sonny Zulhuda

postermaker-1541067967396

A close forum named Focus Group Discussion (FGD) on IPR and Open Data in the Digital Environment was recently held on 9th November 2018 at Al-Nawawi Conference Room, Ahmad Ibrahim Kuliyyah of Law, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM). The event was involving two universities from two countries which are the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) and Universitas Padjadjaran (UNPAD), Indonesia.

In his welcoming remarks, the Dean of Ahmad Ibrahim Kuliyyah of Laws, Prof. Dato’ Sri Dr. Ashgar Ali Ali Mohamed extended his gratitude and warm welcome to the delegations from UNPAD. He believed that this two-way discussion should be conducted more regularly in promoting the intellectual discourse between two countries. In a reciprocal gesture, Prof Dr H Ahmad M. Ramli from the Faculty of Law, UNPAD in his keynote address appreciated the initiative by IIUM in conducting this group discussion.

This FGD was part of the research work under the Fundamental Research Grant Scheme, funded by the Ministry of Education, Malaysia. The group discussion was divided into 4 sessions, involving 11 speakers altogether; 7 from UNPAD and 4 from IIUM. Here are some excerpts:

Session 1: IPR Between Tradition and Innovation Continue reading

“Right to be Forgotten” in Indonesian Data Protection Law (A Focus Group Discussion with BINUS University)

By: Sonny Zulhuda

This report is based on what has been written on BINUS Website in the original Indonesian version. The Focus Group Discussion took place on 11th August 2018 in Kuala Lumpur. The participants were Prof. Dr. Shidarta, Prof. Dr. Bambang Pratama, and Reinhard Christian Surya from BINUS Law School, Jakarta and myself. The main topic was on the the right to be forgotten.

I reckoned in that meeting that the regulation on right to be forgotten as introduced in the latest 2016 amendment to the Indonesian e-transactions laws (namely UU ITE in Indonesian) was a drastic development bearing in mind that there is still no comprehensive legislation in Indonesia dealing with the protection of personal data which is now increasingly becoming a new global norm. In my view, Indonesia should first settle with the currently ongoing debate on the draft bill of the Personal Data Protection law.

Right to be forgotten is indeed a sub-set of many rights relating to personal data processing of an individuals. In many laws, this right to be forgotten is interchangeably discussed with the right to data deletion.

fgd binus 2018

In Malaysia this right is impliedly given because it mandates every data user (those who process personal data of individuals) to ensure data are deleted when they are no longer necessarily required. Similar provisions can be found in the laws of other countries such as UK, Hong Kong and Singapore. In Indonesia, there is still no law (Undang-undang) which defines and lays down similar requirements.

In its Indonesian report, the Website continues to note: Continue reading

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