Data Breach a Test to Our Digital Resilience

By: Sonny Zulhuda
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Malaysian public has recently been perturbed by a series of personal data breach one after another. While the investigation is taking place, one can only expect that what has surfaced may only be a tip of an iceberg.
As the country embraces digital economy and aims at a cashless society by 2020, this data security crisis becomes a part of the equation. More digitised information and more synchronised data mean a bigger risk of data breach calamities. As a country, there is no backing out from this equation even though that means we have to learn it hard.
As a consequence, a data breach is not a matter of ‘whether’ but is a matter of ‘when’ it will happen. This requires us to adopt a risk management approach. Failure of managing the risks can be increasingly costly. The problem is, it is too often when we realise there is a data, it may be already too late. The alleged leak and illegal sale of Malaysian telecommunications data are said to have happened years ago. By now, we are already five years too late!
Time is of the essence here. As we start to learn about the breaches that took place, swift actions are warranted. There are few points to consider by all the stakeholders.
Firstly, data users can do the least by keeping the public informed about what is going on.
Even though our PDP law does not oblige data users to notify data subjects about any breach, this is warranted for transparency and trust preservation, and hence their business continuity plan.
Secondly, we should treat this as an issue of national security.
Not only because massive data of the majority of the public is affected, but also because those data come from the telecommunications and financial industries which are deemed among the ten critical national information infrastructures (CNII) as outlined by the Malaysian National Cyber Security Policy (NCSP) 2006. So, data security under this CNII must be given utmost priority. Both public and private sectors must cooperate in dealing with the crises.
Thirdly, it is time to test the mechanism of our law.
These incidents of a personal data breach either maliciously or negligently occurred, will need to be tested against the Personal Data Protection principles enshrined in the Act. The authority needs to speed up the activation of the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) 2010 after some “day-nap”. Other agencies need to help in accordance with the statutory powers granted to each of them.

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The year 2017 is notably the beginning of some successful prosecutions under the Act, which is a crucial milestone in itself. On a positive note, we should take this crisis as an opportunity to also prove our legal mechanism. 

On top of that, what we are facing now is something bigger: it is testing our resilience as a nation. The challenge is more than a damage control: it is to deal efficiently with the massive data crisis like what is happening now.

This is not a one-off duty as data security is a process rather than a result. As Vince Lombardi was once famously quoted, it is not so much about how we fall down, but rather on how to raise back. And by “we” I mentioned in this last paragraph, it is you and me and every one of us the individuals to whom the personal data actually belong to.

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Apapun Disiplin Ilmumu, Pelajarilah Ekonomi Digital!

APAPUN DISIPLIN ILMUMU, PELAJARILAH EKONOMI DIGITAL!

Oleh: Sonny Zulhuda

APAC Cyber Summit 2016_1

1. Indonesia dan Malaysia melalui pemimpinnya masing-masing telah menetapkan bahwa Ekonomi Digital menjadi fokus utama dalam membangun negara dan meningkatkan ekonomi bangsa. Tidak hanya jalur lebar Internet yang diperhebat, namun penguasaan konten lokal dan industri kreatif kini menjadi generator baru bagi kemajuan bangsa.

2. Pengalaman saya selama 15 tahun sebagai peneliti, akademisi dan praktisi hukum teknologi informasi, melihat semakin perlunya kita untuk memparalelkan segala ilmu, pengetahuan dan teori yang kita pelajari dengan perkembangan dunia digital. Ekonomi digital yang didominasi dengan penguasaan teknologi informasi dan optimalisasi data mengharuskan kita menjawab berbagai tantangan digital.

3. Saya saksikan sendiri di berbagai universitas top di dunia seperti Oxford, Sydney, UNSW, Tsinghua, Toronto dan Yonsei University mereka sudah mendirikan lembaga kajian yang fokus terhadap isu konvergensi teknologi informasi dalam berbagai aspeknya. Universitas Indonesia dan UNPAD saya pikir sudah memulai lebih awal dalam konteks Indonesia. Yang lainnya, belum kelihatan! Sementara, semakin banyak pula lembaga internasional yang menyediakan program, beasiswa, fellowship dan event-event yang bertujuan mencari bakat-bakat muda dalam kajian konvergensi informasi ini.  Continue reading

Open Government and Cyber Security in Malaysia

By: Sonny Zulhuda

Open government is the notion that allows transparency of governments in running matters pertinent to public interests. According to that concept, the government shall allow its citizens an access to government documents and a right to obtaining information relating to public matters.

In Malaysia recently, the Open Government initiative was represented in the Public Sector Open Data Portal programme which was launched in September 2015 by MAMPU, a Unit under the Prime Minister’s Department. It declares that the aim of such initiative is to open and share government data to public and hence to enhance transparency and efficiency of government and to create a digital innovativeness.

 

With this background, the question of how the Government deals with the increasing demand of freedom of information and other challenges ranging from personal data to the government data security is worth examining. I was invited to talk about this at an international conference hosted by Sydney Cyber Security Network, the University of Sydney, Australia. In my presentation, I highlighted a recent initiative of open data in Malaysian public sector and the related challenges on data security, privacy and information surveillance.

I was also looking at the recent developments in Malaysia relating to the enactment of personal data protection law and recent policies relating to critical infrastructure protection. Lessons from cases and incidents surrounding information security and personal data breaches were discussed to trigger discussions on relevant solutions and best practice.

Among the key summary of my talk in Sydney was as following:

  • Open Government is underway, but more economically-motivated and narrowly looked at “open data”. A long way to the “open government”.
  • Cyber security governance enhances the security of data in the Malaysian cyberspace. However:
  • There is a striking imbalance in the legal framework between the protection of secret on one hand, and the freedom of information on the other.
  • The data privacy law boosts the transparency in the private & commercial sector, but it is a missed opportunity for an open government.
  • The open government initiative needs to be supported as national agenda, to be backed by a stronger law and national policy.

Cyber Security in the Era of Open Government: A note from the University of Sydney

By: Sonny Zulhuda

I was honored to be invited by the University of Sydney to talk about this on November 2016. The event, called “Cyber Security in the Era of Open Government”, sought to identify innovative solutions for improving the security of open government services and their users. 



Several keynoters were invited to provide for the best practices from the public and private sectors, both locally and internationally on issues surrounding the cyber security challenges associated with increasing citizens’ access to government data. The preview of the program can be traced in the USyd’s website page here.

The conference was split up into 3 thematic panels:

1. Open Government and Cyber Security in Australia. Three renowned personalities from Australian regulators spoke, namely Tim Pilgrim (Acting Australian Information Commissioner and Australian Privacy Commissioner); Elizabeth Tydd, (NSW Information Commissioner and Head of the Information and Privacy Commission); and Rolf Green, who was the Director of Information, ICT and Digital Government Division, Australian Department of Finance, Services and Innovation.

2. Open Government from Global Perspectives. In this session, I spoke alongside with an American Charles Bell, CEO of Startup Policy Lab (SPL); Dr. Janet Xu, Associate Researcher of the University of Oxford; and the Canadian Dr Khaled El Emam, himself a Professor at the University of Ottawa. I also like to note that this session was chaired by my friend Dr Adam Molnar, a lecturer in criminology at the Deakin University, Victoria, Australia.

3. Privacy, Surveillance and Government Services. This afternoon session presented a speakers from a diverse background, namely Dr. Elizabeth Coombs, NSW Privacy Commissioner; Professor Fleur Johns, Associate Dean (Research) UNSW; Bernard Keane, Crikey’s political editor.

INFO: 10th GigaNet Annual Symposium on Internet Governance (João Pessoa, Brazil)

By: Sonny Zulhuda

The annual Symposium this time will be held in Brazil, on 9th November 2015. I have been in the Programme Committee who deal with the call for papers and all selection process. The papers have been finalised and, as always, this Symposium promises an exciting forum to discuss and debate on matters relating to the Internet Governance.

The Symposium covers a broad spectrum of Internet Governance topics that include:

  • Changes in the Internet Governance ecosystem
  • Internet Governance 10 years after the WSIS
  • Analyzing, critiquing or supporting multistakeholder governance as an ideology or practice
  • The governance and legal implications of decentralized systems such as Bitcoin and Ethereum
  • Sustainable development as it relates to global Internet Governance
  • Technical, legal and policy initiatives for cybersecurity and their impact on global Internet Governance

For more info, feel free to check the URL: http://giga-net.org/page/2015-annual-symposium

From the 2nd Annual Summit on Personal Data Protection (KL, 12-13 Dec 2012)

By: Sonny Zulhuda

Brochure2 PDP Forum Dec 2012This 2nd Annual Personal Data Protection Summit was held in Royale Chulan of Kuala Lumpur. As admitted by the organiser (the World Asian Summit), this year edition showed much bigger interest. This impressive crowd attendance can only mean one thing: the undeniable importance of the PDP Act 2010.

The Deputy Minister Dato’ Joseph Salang had re-emphasised the Government’s seriousness about implementing the long-awaited legislation, which was already passed since June 2010. In his key-note speech, he again revealed that the Act will be enforced on the 1st January 2013 – echoing similar statement by the Minister of Information, Communications and Culture recently (Read reports on Dato’ Joseph’s announcement here, here and here).

I was invited to speak in the 2-day conference, on “Reality check on the right to privacy in Malaysia — and how is it affected by the mobile technologies and social media.” Continue reading

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