Amendment needed for data protection laws in line with Padu, says LFL

PETALING JAYA: There is a need for an immediate amendment to the Personal Data Protection Act 2010 (PDPA) to place responsibility and liability on the government as well as the agencies responsible for the data collected, says Lawyers for Liberty (LFL).

In response to the launch of the Central Database Hub (Padu) system which comes with significant flaws involving sensitive public data, LFL director Zaid Malek said the government must suspend the implementation of Padu.

Zaid said that this needs to be done until necessary amendments are made to the PDPA.

He said that the government must hold itself responsible in law before it can launch any data collection platform to ensure that the data collected is protected and secured.

“Whilst there are valid reasons advanced why this Padu initiative is necessary, there are legitimate and serious concerns regarding the protection and security of the data collected.

“As it stands, Section 3(1) of the PDPA exempts the government, meaning that the data collected by Padu can be disseminated or used by the government beyond its declared purpose of targeted subsidies," he said in a statement on Thursday (Jan 4).

As Padu uses a centralised on a single platform to collect data, Zaid said the security of the data must be made a priority.

In June last year, Economy Minister Rafizi Ramli had announced an Omnibus Bill which was supposed to address the authorisation of data sharing between its ministries and agencies.

“The details of this Bill are lacking. It is thus not enough for the government to make verbal assurances that the data collected under Padu are not misused or will be protected,” Zaid said.

As such, Zaid said there also must be a system in place for a public inquiry should any data breaches occur so that users that are affected can be informed of the breach and take necessary action against anyone responsible for the breach.

“Without the amendments being made before the launch of Padu, the public cannot be assured that their data will be protected from misuse by the government or scammers and unscrupulous individuals who will undoubtedly target the massive database,”he said.

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