Amendments to Personal Data Protection Act in final stages, says Deputy Comms Minister

KUALA LUMPUR: Amendments to the Personal Data Protection Act 2010 (Act 709) is in its final stages and will be tabled early next year, says Deputy Communications and Digital Minister Teo Nie Ching.

"We are in the final stages of preparing a Bill to amend Act 709 and will look at tabling the Bill during next year's Dewan Rakyat session in March," she said when replying to Datuk Mohd Suhaimi Abdullah in Parliament on Thursday (Oct 12).

She said the amendments will increase fines against cyber-attackers as well as make it compulsory for data users to appoint a data protection officer and report any data leakage to her ministry's Personal Data Protection Department (PDPD).

"PDPD is also creating a guideline to minimise usage of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in relation to public personal data.

"The ministry is working together with private companies to build a concerted effort in ensuring scams are avoided at all costs," she said.

Teoh added that the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has taken the initiative to block a total of 1,471 phishing websites and 3,150 social media scam posts between Jan 1 and Aug 31 this year.

A cybersecurity Bill is also being prepared to increase penalties against cybercrimes in line with Communication and Multimedia Act 1998 and the Penal Code.

"The ministry is collaborating with cyber security companies to enhance cyber security through AI technology and various data protection sources to better combat against cyber threats," she said in reply to Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (PH-Bandar Tun Razak).

Dr Wan Azizah had asked Teo what steps her ministry was taking to combat cyber-attackers who use AI technology to gain people's personal data.

On Jan 25, Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil expressed disappointment that since 2017, the average amount of fines or penalties imposed on about 25 companies involved in data leaks was only an average of RM24,000 per company.

"These are disappointing figures, especially when data breaches amounted to thousands or tens of thousands, These are fines from 15 years back, and do not necessarily fit current times,” he said.

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