Come down hard on those who sell personal data, says criminologist

Cyber Criminals-01

Telecommunication companies, banks, insurance companies and utility companies should implement stringent controls to prevent customers’ personal data being divulged to unscrupulous third parties.

Criminologist Assoc Prof Datuk Dr P. Sundramoorthy said such entities must carry out “periodical audits” on authorised users in their entities who have access to customers’ data.

“No one user should have unlimited access and their privileges should be reviewed from time to time,” said Sundramoorthy.

His views come following the recent arrest of three company directors by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for allegedly giving millions of ringgit to telecommunication company officials to reveal customer details.

The personal information of the customers were allegedly obtained to conduct SMS fraud by content provider syndicates.

Sundramoorthy said companies must lodge police reports when employees misuse confidential information of customers, including selling the numbers to third parties.

“It has been going on for decades. But corporations tend to not lodge police reports as they don’t want to look bad in the eyes of their customers and potential customers,” he said.

“These institutions must have proper teams dealing with personal data. If there are weaknesses and negligence in preventing leaks, these institutions should be held responsible.”

Drawing an analogy to the Macau Scam, where those who were duped had a lot of savings, Sundramoorthy said a fool-proof system must be in place to find out if personal data was being hacked or sold.

“The police, MACC and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission must utilise more agent provocateurs. It is not impossible or challenging to detect the perpetrators,” he said.

On the effectiveness of the Personal Data Protection Act which regulates the processing of personal data in commercial transactions, Sundramoorthy said: “It boils down to integrity and ethics … these two elements are not prevalent in our work culture.

“If the players involved are not practising and implementing what is required of them, you can have any amount of laws and it will be useless.”

Here’s a round-up of The News Normal today.


Two directors of a construction company and two others including a Bangladeshi national were remanded for seven days in connection with odour pollution in Sungai Selangor which caused water disruption in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor on Tuesday.

The remand order was issued by the Selayang magistrate’s court today.

The four are being investigated under Section 430 of the Penal Code for committing mischief that caused diminution of water supply for human and animal consumption.

The water disruption affected more than one million accounts in Kuala Lumpur, Petaling, Klang, Shah Alam, Kuala Selangor, Hulu Selangor, Gombak and Kuala Langat.


Two guests who died in the Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat landslide yesterday were crushed by rubble in the 1.30am incident.

Police said Ooi Chee Wei, 39, and Lee Tze Juin, 32, were from Kuala Lumpur and were in Ipoh for work purposes.

Ipoh district police chief ACP A. Asmadi Abdul Aziz said the case has been classified as sudden death.


A more aggressive tax plan which facilitates private investment and boosts individual consumption in sports would be an impetus for the government to ease its move towards recognising sports as an industry, says Muhammad Yunus Zakariah.