THE government is prepared to enact a privacy and data protection law to address the growing concern among Internet users about invasion of their privacy via the Web, Second Finance Minister Datuk Jamaludin Jarjis said.
He said the government was drafting a bill for deliberation by parliament in the wake of concerns raised by consumers and in the interest of building confidence in the electronic market place.
Any privacy and data protection law enacted cannot be perfect but we have several models that we can look at and improve upon. We need to provide some flexibility for adjustments within online services in line with changes in technology, Jamaludin said.
His remarks were contained in a speech read out on his behalf by Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Chan Kong Choy at the conclusion of a seminar on E-Commerce & the Law on Privacy and the launch of a book titled Privacy & Data Protection at Universiti Tenaga Nasional in Kajang yesterday.
Jamaluddin said the government, in consultation with the public and private sectors, had come up with a comprehensive personal data protection law. The legislation would provide the mechanism for collecting, processing and using data held by the public and private sectors.
It provides the individual a remedy in case of misuse of data. It seeks to protect the individual from unwanted or harmful use of their data. As such, the data privacy regime in Malaysia does not seek to cut off the flow of data but merely to see that they are collected and used in a responsible and accountable manner, he added.
Jamaluddin said that although the Internet provided conveniences from e-mail to online shopping and access to share market quotes, the potential abuses and invasion of privacy via the Internet were innumerable.
What is less understood is that the Internet also collects a great deal of information about its users. As to who uses this information and how it is used forms the basis of many Internet privacy concerns, he said.
Jamaluddin also noted that different countries had adopted different legal methods and instruments to combat the invasion of privacy issue, with the European Union using the regulatory approach and the US adopting the self-regulatory one.