Cabinet should include Data Protection Bill in the first batch of cyberbills to be passed by the current meeting of Parliament to protect the privacy of Malaysians in the computer age


Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Monday): The Cabinet should take serious note of the incident uncovered in San Francisco last week where a purchaser of a used IBM Personal Computer at an Internet auction found that the hard disk contained 2,000 patient records from a supermarket chain of pharmacies..

When booting up the computer which she bought for US$159, the purchaser found that all the software that the pharmacy had used for record keeping was still on the computerís hard disk, including patient names, addresses, social security numbers and a chronological list of all the medicine that they had bought at the pharmacy.

The value of the data in the used computer would be many times its cost.

It was later found that the computer was one of the 34 PCs leased by pharmacies in the chain and which had been returned to the leasing company when the old computer system was replaced.

This shocking episode should alert the Malaysian Cabinet to the urgent need to address the problem of data protection, especially as the Telemedicine Development Bill is going to be one of the first batch of cyberbills to be passed by the current meeting of Parliament.

The Cabinet should take a policy decision to include the Data Protection Bill in the first batch of cyberbills to be passed by the current meeting of Parliament to protect the privacy of Malaysians in the computer age.

The Data Protection Act which Malaysia should enact should include the following eight principles, which have been adopted by some other countries:

(7/4/97)


*Lim Kit Siang - Malaysian Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Democratic Action Party Secretary-General & Member of Parliament for Tanjong