Thursday, February 25, 2021

Govt ready to audit MySejahtera to counter claims of personal data breach

The debate over the app's data privacy points to lingering trust issues that could undermine the battle against Covid-19.

Other News

Burger King berwajah baru dalam fasa pandemik

Burger King umum rancangan mengembangkan pasarannya sebanyak 20% menjelang akhir tahun termasuk pelancaran identiti visual baru.

Health ministry explains different needle colours for Covid jabs

Different colours signify different bore size in needles, health ministry says.

China lambasts UK for ‘double standards’ over human rights for immigrants

Beijing has stepped up the rhetoric against London since Britain offered millions of Hong Kong citizens in its ex-colony the chance to obtain full British citizenship.

Bikinis now fine for beach volleyball tourney in Doha after Qatar reconsiders

Doha at first asked female players to wear long shirts and trousers instead of bikinis for the event.

Washington in bid to rejoin UNHRC to go after rights violators

The Biden administration named Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba, Congo and Iran as human rights abusers, but its list does not stop there.

Putrajaya may undertake an independent review of its MySejahtera mobile app following allegations of personal data breach, MalaysiaNow has learnt from sources close to government authorities in charge of digital security.

This comes amid apprehension from some quarters over data privacy that could affect millions of users of the app, launched in April to enable health authorities to keep track of people’s movements to contain the spread of Covid-19.

“The government has made it compulsory for the public to sign in using the app when entering premises. And there is no basis to claims that it is being used for other purposes,” a data privacy expert with a government agency told MalaysiaNow.

“But there are lingering trust issues which could undermine the battle against the pandemic,” he added.

It is believed that the issue cropped up during a recent meeting involving ministers and top officers tasked with managing the Covid-19 crisis.

The source said any suspicion of the government’s pledge to protect people’s privacy would cause problems in ensuring the effective tracking of the virus, which has so far infected over 50,000 people and claimed more than 320 lives.

At the heart of the concerns is the app’s ability to access a user’s location, in addition to having access to storage and phone contacts.

MalaysiaNow understands that an independent audit firm will be appointed to carry out the review of MySejahtera.

In August, Putrajaya announced that it would gazette the use of MySejahtera through the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988, in the wake of difficulties in tracing close contacts at places where Covid-19 cases had been detected.

Despite repeated assurances from the government, the debate over MySejahtera’s data privacy has continued online, evoking strong reactions on social media.

At the heart of the concerns is the app’s ability to access a user’s location – crucial in contact tracing activities – in addition to having access to storage and phone contacts.

There are many free tools available for checking an app’s claim to data privacy.

One such tool is prepared by Exodus Privacy, a French data privacy organisation, to evaluate Android-based apps.

A check on its website reveals that MySejahtera allows 14 different permissions regarding various device features and contents.

Concerns over data privacy during the pandemic are not confined to Malaysia, as countries attempt to collect more personal information for contact tracing, a key part of containing the spread of Covid-19.

Despite government guarantees that such apps would not keep personal information, recent cases of massive data leaks have not helped to allay fears.

In March, details of hundreds of thousands of credit cards issued by banks in Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand were found online in a massive data breach.

Three years ago, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission confirmed that the personal data of more than 46 million subscribers of major mobile telco services had been leaked on the dark web, complete with phone numbers and home addresses.

Follow us on Telegram for the latest updates: https://t.me/malaysianow

Subscribe to our newsletter

To be updated with all the latest news and analyses.

Related Articles

As vaccination begins, theories against jabs surface in the form of ‘medical research’

One such claim in a 'medical journal' warns that Pfizer's vaccine could lead to brain-related disease.

Making MySejahtera mandatory victimises the non-IT savvy and the poor

Consumers Association of Penang urges the government to reconsider the move, given the plight of the elderly and those who do not possess smartphones.

Property market holding steady despite pandemic-induced woes

No change reported in overall asking prices for the final quarter of 2020, with the property market expected to improve considerably in 2021.

Parents fuelling pandemic-season obesity among kids

Nutritionist Farah Farhana Hashim says some parents are feeding their children unhealthy snacks in an attempt to keep them focused on their online classes.

No uniform, no problem, says Putrajaya ahead of school reopening

Education ministry says tidy and appropriate clothing will be permitted until March 26.