MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Security a concern in national biometric database registry


From Murray Hunter

According to the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP), the government is implementing a national biometric registry system across the whole nation. This will be known as the National Digital Identification (NDI) system.

Under the section on Digital Governance in the 532-page document, the plan for developing the digital identity system is explained.

The planned digital identification system using new data technologies and software will be used to hold the biometric and other personal data of all Malaysian citizens. The NDI will contain names, aliases, personal details, along with facial biometrics and fingerprints.

According to the document, this information will be linked up with government departments and ministries across the government, including the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN) or the taxation office, law authorities, social welfare department, Election Commission, National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN), labour department, health ministry, road transport department (JPJ), immigration and the courts.

Coupled with CCTV systems around the country, the NDI can be used in facial recognition systems.

The plan states that this scheme will be rolled out in 2022, after the Personal Data Protection Act is reviewed and amended to “provide greater rights and control over personal data as well as clarity on personal data management using technology”.

The government sees this move as necessary to curb data fraud and enhance the protection of personal rights. The NDI is intended to be a platform for personal authentication. It is intended for use in banking and other online transactions.

The plan argues that this measure is important to enhance government efficiency for service delivery and online transactions. It is argued that the NDI will enhance government transparency.

One of the greatest concerns is security. A recent report alleges that the personal data of Malaysian citizens aged two or three to 43, held by the national registration department (JPN), was put up for sale online.

However, if the myIDENTITY platform, which contains the personal information of Malaysian citizens, has been breached, security of the proposed NDI system cannot be guaranteed. There have been a number of leaks of personal data over the years, despite the existence of the Personal Data Protection Act.

A similar biometric system was implemented by the Thai government in the three southernmost provinces in the deep south – Patani, Yala and Narathiwat – as a tool against the insurgency.

This was linked into surveillance technology with CCTV systems, biometric data and AI software that can match up and utilise biometric data within the CCTV system, enabling the conduct of technological surveillance on a wide scale throughout the southern border provinces.

This led to great resistance and suspicion of the Thai government’s intentions by the Thai Malays within the region.

Sources informed the author that the Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary Group, which was awarded a 5G telecommunications spectrum licence, is keenly seeking the multibillion-ringgit contract to develop and operate the national biometric register.

The Syed Mokhtar group has interests in the rice monopoly Bernas, Aliran Ihsan Resources, – controlling Johor water – Gas Malaysia, Malakoff electricity generation, Modenas, Hicom, Honda, Bank Muamalat, Asia Insurance, Puspakom, MMC railway construction, Senai Airport, Tanjung Pelepas Port in Johor, and Pos Malaysia.

The controversial 12MP has been criticised by opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim for its alleged cost of RM2 billion paid out to a foreign consulting company to prepare the report.

This was fervently denied by senior minister Mustapa Mohamed, who is the minister overseeing the 12MP, within hours of Anwar’s allegation.

A source within the Economic Planning Unit, the agency within the prime minister’s department, which prepared the 12MP, confirmed that the consulting firm McKinsey’s played a major role in the preparation of the report.

According to McKinsey’s Malaysia website, the consulting company specialises in digital technologies, analytics and data, organisation development, and image building.

Opposition MP Tony Pua said the 12MP has not analysed why previous Malaysian plans have failed, while offering nothing new.

Criticism from East Malaysia argues that the 12MP furthers the Malay agenda, rather than addressing Bumiputera marginalisation.

Finally, the 12MP, rather than streamlining the public service, is full of new initiatives that will extend an already bloated bureaucracy, such as the NDI plan. - FMT

Murray Hunter is an FMT reader.

The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of MMKtT.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.