WE refer to the letter by Cheers “A call to ensure one’s privacy is not involved” (The Star, April 27).
The letter explained the issue of data privacy and the question of how personal information such as telephone or mobile number can be accessed by other parties.
As the regulator for the communications and multimedia industry, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) would like to clarify that all communication service providers are governed by a consumer code where they must not disclose customers personal information to other parties.
Part 2 of the General Consumer Code (GCC), has set out the responsibility of a service provider in the protection of consumer information.
A service provider may collect and maintain necessary data/information of consumers for tracking practices. However, the collection and maintenance of such data/information shall follow the following good practices whereby it should not be transferred to any party without prior approval from the consumer.
Service providers must also take appropriate measures to provide adequate security, and respect consumers’ preferences regarding unsolicited mail and telephone calls.
Service providers must be open, transparent, and meet generally accepted fair information principles including providing notice as to what personal information they collect, use, and disclose.
However, personal information could come from many other sources. For example, some may disclose or communicate their personal information when they fill any application form or during navigation on any websites or through online registration.
As such, consumers are advised to read carefully the terms and conditions before they divulge any of their personal information.
In addition, last April, Parliament passed the Personal Data Protection Bill 2009 that seeks to protect personal data belonging to the public from being misused through commercial transactions.
The bill placed high importance on the protection of sensitive personal data, such as a person’s information on his health, physical attributes, mental status and his religious preferences from being misused.
A personal data protection commissioner will be appointed and an advisory committee created to advise the commissioner on the enforcement of the Bill.
Their job will be to monitor the activities of commercial transaction of information. Any private database collection agencies would have to strictly comply with the Act.
The Bill is a form of cyber-legislation and Malaysia is the first among Asean countries to introduce this law.
It is modelled after the provisions outlined by some European countries in relation to the protection of national security, defence and basic human rights.
The new regulations on data protection would ensure that personal data would not be given out except with the consent of their owners.
CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS DEPARTMENT,
Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission.