Data Protection Laws Changes to Occur in Malaysia
A recent cybersecurity leak involving a pay portal at the Universiti Malaysia Sabah has prompted the government to put out a call for stronger data protection laws. The security leak happened through the UMS e-pay portal, compromising thousands of students and their private information.
This is the most recent cybersecurity breach on a university, but it was not the only one. Earlier this year, the University of Malaya also experienced a data breach when their e-pay portal was defaced, but no student information was stolen.
Troubling History for Data Protection in Malaysia
Data protection laws have been in place since 2010, but these do not reflect all the problems people face today. New laws are needed to help improve on the existing provisions in place.
A study of 47 countries by Comparitech which looked at privacy and data protection of citizens gave Malaysia a ranking of 2.67 out of 5 stars.Similar studies have also ranked Malaysia low in terms of data protection and internet safety. Although laws have been put into place, these laws are difficult to enforce. Updating the law will force companies to be more accountable and encourage companies to work on their security. Changes to the law to make them more enforceable is the best way to move forward, and this is what the government plans to do.
A Brighter Future?
Improving data protection laws will give internet regulators from Malaysia more power to deal with cyber crimes such as the two high profile breaches seen this year. Allowing agencies the ability to levy fines for failure to notify users of data breaches may help in tightening security. Right now with current laws, cyber crimes are treated the same way as regular crimes. While this might seem fair at first, online crimes are much harder to prove than normal crimes.
Whatever the government chooses to do, changes need to be made in order for Malaysia’s digital economy to be a success. Data protection is a critical part of the digital world. With so much of Malaysia’s revenue coming from online businesses such as freelancers and online sales, insuring their data protection is up to date is essential moving forward.
While the 2010 laws are enforceable as they are, updating the law with current knowledge will go a long way to addressing this issue. New data protection laws will keep businesses and internet users safe, so that the digital economy can continue to grow.