Data Sovereignty vs Data Localisation Law

By: Sonny Zulhuda

Transferring personal data beyond national boundaries has been a point of contention under many data protection laws across the globe. The European Union adopts this restriction that such transfer beyond EU boundaries cannot be done unless to the countries or places which have adequate protection on personal data of individuals.

Cloud-Data-SecurityThis rule is associated with the concept of “Data Sovereignty” which says that a country shall not lose a control or sovereignty over the processing of personal data pertaining to data subjects from that country. It also imposes that information which has been stored in digital form is subject to the laws of the country in which it is located. Therefore, a control over trans-border data flow is a form of upholding data sovereignty.

The concept of Data Sovereignty is reflected in the EU Data Protection Directives 1995 recitals whereas:

  • cross-border flows of personal data are necessary to the expansion of international trade;
  • the protection of individuals guaranteed in the Community by this Directive does not stand in the way of transfers of personal data to third countries which ensure an adequate level of protection;
  • the transfer of personal data to a third country which does not ensure an adequate level of protection must be prohibited.

As much as we are concerned with personal data transferred beyond our border, we also appreciate that personal data is inherently needed for the International trade and International cooperation. Hence, when a personal data is subject to trans-border flow, there shall be no discriminatory treatment to the citizen’s personal data despite where it is processed.

Data Localisation Law

This data sovereignty is sometimes confused with the rules of “Data Localisation”, which is totally a different thing. Data localisation laws set forth requirements to keep and store data “locally” (i.e., within national or regional borders), and thus not allowing data users to transfer data beyond borders. Consequently, any foreign party who wishes to collect or process personal data of individuals will be required to establish a local data storage facilities in the country of those individuals. Continue reading

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Personal Data Governance from A Cyber Security Perspective

By: Sonny Zulhuda

Data privacy and data security are two sides of a coin – unseparable. Despite efforts by experts to explain this, yet the misunderstanding that they defeat each other is still widely looming.  In this APAC Cyber Security Summit held in on 3rd June 2016 in Kuala Lumpur and attended by more than two-hundred regional participants, I took another attempt to explain this: How protecting one’s data privacy can contribute to a larger information security practices. Not coincidentally, one can see it from the other side: In order to afford maximum protection of one’s privacy, efforts must be taken to secure his data. Thus, data security is part of a bigger personal data privacy protection. Confused? Don’t be.

APAC Cyber Summit 2016_1The truth is, personal data management does include protecting its confidentiality, integrity and availablity. And doing so, it means one must ensure the privacy and security of personal data goes side by side.

In a report released by the PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) in 2016 on Personal Data Use Governance – Mitigate Risk while Unlocking Business Value, there is a sfift (or more sutiably, an expansion) of personal data risks landscape from merely a security and regulatory issue, to an intersection of issues of ethical, regulatory, litigation, security and serivce quality.

At this Conference, I highlighted the latest status and implementation of the Malaysian Personal Data Protection Act 2010 and tried to show how the new regulatory framework reshape the landscape of information security in Malaysia.

The points can be summarised as follows:

  1. Perspective #1. PDPA 2010 creates data management principles
  2. Perspective #2. PDPA 2010 spells out the duties throughout data lifecycle
  3. Perspective #3. PDPA 2010 identifies data risks
  4. Perspective #4. PDPA 2010 creates new data offences
  5. Perspective #5. PDPA 2010 creates duty of data due diligence

Developing Privacy-Friendly Mobile Apps: Takeaways for Mobile Developers

By: Sonny Zulhuda

Image credit: computerworld.com

Image credit: computerworld.com (click on the image for full display)

This week (28th Aug) I will be participating in a national event dedicated for the modern digital lifestyle in Malaysia, named KL CONVERGE! which runs from 27th-29th August 2015 at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC) in the heart of the Malaysia’s capital. Visit the site here: http://www.klconverge.my/.

As the site highlights, KL CONVERGE! is a multi-platform digital content and creative industry event showcasing the world’s latest achievements and opportunities in the music, film, gaming and Internet space. It seeks to provide an immersive experience to show “how technology and content is an everyday part of our lives.” The event is bringing together leading industry executives from multimedia, applications, Internet and creative content to discuss, deliberate, showcase and celebrate the issues, opportunities and successes in digital space.

I have a honour to be part of the event to speak about key privacy issues for mobile apps developers – thanks to my friends and partners at the Data Protection Academy (DPA) LLP (Noris and Eddie). The discussion will reflect the new legal landscape brought about by the Personal Data Protection Act 2010 that concern mobile apps designers and developers. It’s this Friday, 28th August 2015 at 4.00PM (not one of the best time to listen a talk – sigh) at Room 306 KLCC Convention Hall. It is adjacent to the majestic Petronas twin tower, and it is a free admission event 😉 (ugh.. still..) (*_*)

In the one-hour talk, I will demonstrate the salient features of the data privacy laws in Malaysia and the emerging global trend, especially concerning the users/consumers of mobile apps. Issues such as data collection, notification and retention will be touched. Not less importantly will be the issue of personal data security that each mobile apps developer will have to consider when they decide to retain users’ personally identifiable information (PII). But on top of all those, I am posing a big question: “Should you ever collect the users’ personal information at all?” — I am at the moment finalising my presentation and will share here the key points in due course. See you there, if you make it:)

Data Protection in the Era of Big Data, the Internet of Things (IoT) & Cloud Computing

By: Sonny Zulhuda

ALB Conference 2015This is the second such conference being organised by ALB/Thomson Reuters on Data Protection following the successful event a year ago. I spoke in a panel session last year, and will be speaking again this time. The conference will be on Thursday, 7th May 2015 at the JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur.

Keynotes will be delivered by Trevor Hughes, President of the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP); Dr. Zainal Abidin Sait, Deputy Director-General of the Personal Data Protection Malaysia Department (PDPD); and Prof. Abu Bakar Munir, who was the Data Protection Consultant to the Malaysian Government.

My panel session is the one slotted at 16:10, focusing on “Data protection in the era of Big Data, the Internet of Things (IoT) & cloud computing,” covering the Jurisdiction and marketplace: Asia Pacific, EU and US.

Continue reading

Personal Data Protection a Key Concern for Human Resources (HR) Professional

By: Sonny Zulhuda

More personally identifiable information (PII) is being captured in the commercial activities across sectors and industries. The workplace today has become a battleground for protecting employees’ valuable personal data that includes their personal records, financial status, medical information as well as the professional data relating to their jobs.

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As a result, it is not too much to say that managing human resource HR) data has now become a critical success factor for organisations both internally and externally. Internally, because an effective and sustainable personal data management supports the works of everyone in the organization who relies on those data. Externally, because personal data has now become a crucial issue closely linked with managing trust and competitiveness while trying to grab the best human capital in the industry.

Given this, a Human Resource (HR) manager plays a central role to ensure that personal data of the employees and anyone around them would remain as assets and not turn out as liabilities for the commercial organizations. And for Malaysian employers, dealing with personal data of their employees, customers as well as their service providers has transformed from largely a business and operational issue to a legal and compliance concern.

With the enforcement of the Personal Data Protection (PDP) Act 2010 (Act 709), the operational landscape for human resource management has tremendously changed. The Act tasks the employers with a series of obligations relating to the collection, use, disclosure and retention of the personal data in their control, including data of employees, job applicants, former workers, outsourced service providers, vendors and customers.

Even though measures from industrial laws and guidelines are abundant and in place, employers are still in the dark about the multi-dimensional effect of the PDP Act 2010 on the employment relationship. Many practical issues arose in the workplace and throughout the employment lifecycle. These questions would likely arise:

  • Who are implicated by the PDP Act 2010?
  • What are the seven data protection principles in the Act and how do I (as an HR manager) implement them in my scope of work? Continue reading

Do-Not-Call Registry (DNCR) to Protect Personal Data?

By: Sonny Zulhuda

In March, I featured in The Sunday Star (9/3/2014) reporting on the need to establish a “Do not call registry” to protect people’s personal information. The main issue discussed was to scrutinize an initiative to have a DNCR and its operational and legal challenges. The full report can be traced here.

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The question that was posed to me was: (1) How good is the idea of DNCR for Malaysian consumers? AND (2) Do you foresee any issues that might arise when they  implement this?

Here are my comments:

  • The PDPA 2010, unlike Singapore’s law, does neither provide nor mandate specifically about Do Not Call (DNC) registry.
  • Nevertheless, DNC registry is an advanced step towards protecting individuals personal data, therefore it is highly commendable. It does require a carefully-structured procedure and rules. Continue reading

PDP Act Compliance Program – Where to Start?

By: Sonny Zulhuda

success manThis New Year was marked by concerns about complying with the Personal Data Protection (PDP) Act 2010 for Malaysian data users: Bankers, Telco’s, Insurers, Hospitals, Marketers, Airliners, Property Sellers, and many more.

For data users, this is what you may consider:

1. Get to know about the law and its implication to you;

2. Make self-assessment on your current business processes to what extent it complies (or not) with the law;

3. Plan a massive personal-data compliance programme.

For the first one, the shortcut is to attend forum, workshops or training on Personal Data Protection law. There are now few such training in the market. Identify them and get involved. There are few types of training you can consider, according to your needs:

Continue reading

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