HUMAN rights group Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) has called on the government to suspend the Central Database Hub (PADU) system until necessary amendments are made to the Personal Data Protection Act 2010 (PDPA).
The move is deemed essential to ensure responsible handling, protection, and security of the collected data by the government and its agencies.
“As it stands, Section 3(1) of the PDPA exempts the government from its application, meaning that the data collected by PADU can be disseminated or used by the government beyond its declared purpose of targeted subsidies,” said LFL director Zaid Malek.
This exemption raises concerns that data collected by PADU might be used beyond its intended purpose of targeted subsidies, posing risks of data breaches, leaks, scams, and other potential abuses.
Zaid emphasised the need for amending the PDPA before the full implementation of the PADU system, expressing concerns about potential misuse of collected data for political purposes, which he described as a “massive betrayal of trust”.
He is of the view that the centralisation of data on a single platform necessitates prioritising its security. Verbal assurances alone from the government regarding data protection are considered insufficient, and concrete legal measures are imperative.
“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.”
Moreover, Zaid questioned the government’s decision to release the PADU system before implementing the proposed Omnibus Bill, as mentioned by Economy Minister Rafizi Ramli.
The bill aims to regulate the sharing of data between government agencies on the PADU platform. Zaid criticised the government for proceeding without addressing legal concerns first, describing it as putting “the horse before the cart”.
“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 added.
“This type of criminality is notoriously widespread now and has become regional. It is strange that the government has proceeded without fixing the law as this is tantamount to putting the horse before the cart.”
Recent complaints, including a loophole allowing third parties to use MyKad numbers to override passwords have heightened worries about the PADU system’s security. Former deputy minister Ong Kian Ming was among several other complaints on social media.
While the Economic Ministry acknowledged and rectified this issue promptly, concerns persist about the overall safety and integrity of the extensive database. – Jan 4, 2023