Whither Digital Privacy: Be afraid, be very afraid!

By: Sonny Zulhuda

imageA quick takeaway from a closed session on Students’ Digital Privacy yesterday at Le Meridien KL (June 7th, 2013), I’d like to share what California-based Jeff Gould presented.

The SafeGov.org CEO told the audience of their research findings, among others:

  • The high significance of Facebook “Like” in profiling the identity of FB users;
  • Real possibility of identifying a person via DNA reconstruction taken from a gum;
  • Telco’s effort to provide some form of customer’s surveillance as their enhanced service;
  • ISP’s role in protecting children privacy through contractual agreements with the users/subscribers

Many things shared which are not new issues but came with novel modus operandi. We just need to be vigilant.

The closed session was attended by representatives from Cybersecurity Malaysia, Parents Action Group for Education (PAGE), FOMCA, Microsoft Corp, India-based CUTS and some local universities. Mr. Rosly Yahil from Cybersecurity Malaysia spoke about various initiatives taken in Malaysian context in dealing with the issues.

During the Q&A session, I managed to share with the floor on several issues and development on data privacy in Malaysia: Continue reading “Whither Digital Privacy: Be afraid, be very afraid!”

Speaking at the Global Information Governance Summit (GIGS 2013)

By: Sonny Zulhuda

ImageThis is just to share of my upcoming presentation at the Global Information Governance Summit (GIGS 2013) that is held in Kuala Lumpur, 28th-29th of May 2013.

I will be speaking in the session 3 of day 2, entitled “Selected Issues in Information Security Law and Data Protection”. I will be speaking more specifically about the threat of identity theft; spam; data surveillance and cyber-terrorism!

The event is jointly organised by the QC Consulting and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) Space. Here is the snapshot of the agenda at the second day.

 

Image

The list of the speakers are amazing. I hope I can deliver something new to the audience. Let me know if you’re there too. That is for now, will share more when things are done!:)

Consumers to take control of their Personal Data

My Intro: The following passages were published by the Star in their Sunday Edition (6th January 2013) at pp 23-24. The article is about what Malaysian consumers should know and do in relation to their personal data. It is based on another interview the journalist had with me. For the benefit of the readers, I reproduce some parts of the article in this page. Should you want to read it in full, check the newspaper’s page HERE.

======================================

“Consumers, take control of your personal data”

The Personal Data Protection Act 2010 has come into force, but the public will have to do their part to make it effective.

Credit: The Star Online
Credit: The Star Online

EAGER to win the grand prize, Maria (not her real name) did not hesitate to “drop” her name card at the door for a lucky draw at a company dinner. Weeks later, she found herself inundated with phone calls and text messages offering different services and products.

It is an accepted practice in Malaysia to leave our call cards or personal information at the registration counter of public events. But have you ever wondered what your personal data will be used for later? Or how it will be stored?

This has become so common here that no one thinks twice about the risks and implications, says personal data protection law expert Dr Sonny Zulhuda.

Under the newly enforced Personal Data Protection Act 2010 (PDPA), however, this practice will have to be reviewed, particularly for business entities that use these occasions as an opportunity to build their network of potential customers.

Continue reading “Consumers to take control of their Personal Data”

What You Need to Know about the PDPA

==============================

My Intro: The following article, appeared in The Star newspaper, is about public awareness on the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) 2010 (Act 709). The journalist had compiled the report out of few resources, including the PDP Department and myself (through series of interaction). It is indicated at the bottom of the article itself. I reproduce the article in this page for the benefit of more readers.

Cheers! Sonny Zulhuda

==============================

“What You Need to Know about the PDPA”

(Reproduced from The Star Online, published on Sunday, 30/12/2012)

PDPA 2010A freelance journalist from Penang was already coping with the pain from a hemorrhoids surgery when she had to endure another hurtful experience – she discovered that her surgeon had taken photographs of her private parts without her consent when she was under.

When she confronted him, she was told that it was “normal procedure” and a common practice for “medical purposes”. Outraged that her privacy had been violated, she sued the doctor.

This is one of the many cases of personal data breaches and privacy violations in the country. Hence, the enforcement of the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) this New Year is much lauded. In fact, it is long awaited – for some, over a decade long.

However, while pictures of one’s private parts may constitute as personal data, the aggrieved patient would not be able to take action under the Act – our PDPA only regulates commercial transactions. (The freelance journalist, however, won RM25,000 in damages in her civil court case.)

Here are some of the facts you need to know about the PDPA: Continue reading “What You Need to Know about the PDPA”

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

PDP Act enforcement soon – Are we prepared?

By Sonny Zulhuda

Recent report about the PDP Act 2010 (Act 709) soon to be enforced would naturally receive mixed reaction. Some quarters would be anticipating that news, while others could have heard it like a gong in the middle of the night.

I am glad that I have a privilege to engage with many people from different industries in the past five years, with whom I have shared my views, research and “strategies” on the new law in workshops, trainings and seminars. From the events that I attended or conducted, I find some sectors are more prepared than others in anticipating the coming or implementation of the Malaysian Personal Data Protection Act 2010.

In getting these industries actively moving or preparing, there are few factors that I think are relevant:

  1. Due to existing regulatory framework
  2. Due to their international pressure
  3. Due to individual experiences

Under the first category would appear to be those under certain professional associations, banks and financial institutions. Continue reading “PDP Act enforcement soon – Are we prepared?”

Personal Data Protection Act 2010 will be Enforced from 01.01.2013 — Or so it was said…

By Sonny Zulhuda

That is it. No more waiting or being complacent.

The Minister of Information, Communications and Culture  of Malaysia, Datuk Seri Rais Yatim was reported today (23 Oct 2012) as saying that the crucial Act will be enforced beginning of the year 2013 — that is less than two months from now. The report from The Sun Daily can be viewed here.

Credit: The Sun Daily (c) 2012
Credit: The Sun Daily (c) 2012

And when it is implemented, as prescribed by the Act itself, data users will have three months to prepare to comply with the rules and regulations on personal data that they collect, process or otherwise store. In total, companies as well as individual data users will only have five months to prepare themselves before the Data Protection Commissioner can knock their doors if he wishes to inspect their personal data system and the level of compliance.

Also, it would mean that the consumers, termed as data subjects, would be able to come and check the accuracy of their personal data collected and processed at their bankers, telecommunications providers, or any other services providers that they had contract with.

Who will be implicated? Continue reading “Personal Data Protection Act 2010 will be Enforced from 01.01.2013 — Or so it was said…”

Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) – In the Light of the Data Protection Law in Malaysia

By: Sonny Zulhuda

ImageLast time In May ’12, I was invited by the Federation of Public Listed Companies (FPLC) and the Malaysian Institute of Corporate Governance (MICG) to speak in their National Conference on IT Governance, Data Protection and Cyber Security.

I chose to speak about the importance of the Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) as an implementing tool for complying with the data management rules and obligations under the law. The exact title of my presentation was “Privacy Impact Assessment for a Better Corporate Governance: The New Legal Landscape in Managing Corporate Data Assets.”

In fact, this was the first time I spoke about it. I just felt that people especially the corporate citizens need to be told in a more practical way on why and how they should comply with the laws on personal data management, i.e. the Personal Data Protection Act 2010 as far as Malaysia is concerned.

The PDPA itself is, of course, silent about this PIA. But that does not mean having or executing a PIA would be useless. PIA is indeed a very helpful organisational tool to ensure compliance with the law on data protection. Malaysian law is not excepted. Continue reading “Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) – In the Light of the Data Protection Law in Malaysia”

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)

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