The Personal Data Protection Act “Is it a Boon or Bane”

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KUALA LUMPUR  –  The Personal Data Protection Act, aimed at preventing the abuse of citizens’ personal data for commercial purposes, will come into force on Jan 1, said Deputy Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Joseph Salang.

He said the Act, which was passed by Parliament in 2010, plays a crucial role in safeguarding the interest of individuals and makes it illegal for corporate entities or individuals to sell personal information or allow the use of data by third parties.

Many quarters, he said, felt that the enactment of the Act was timely as it would facilitate the transfer and transmitting of personal and often very important information seamlessly.

“It gives the public more control over their personal data. Whenever consent is required for data processing, it’ll have to be given expressly rather than impliedly or be assumed,” he said in his keynote address at the Second Annual Personal Data Protection Summit, here on Wednesday.

He said organisations would need to embark on continuous data privacy audit exercises to ensure compliance with the law as they now faced increased responsibility and accountability in processing personal data disclosed to them.

Salang said that to administer this piece of legislation, the Personal Data Protection Department was established on May 16, 2011.

Under the Act, offenders can be jailed for up to two years or fined RM300,000, or both, if convicted.

Salang urged the public to be careful about information they shared online, especially in social media applications.

“Unfortunately, this is an ‘open window’ to our lives which makes it easier for those with nefarious intent to obtain information and use it for their own ends,” he cautioned.  –  Bernama