I’ve been provided with a report by UNICEF Malaysia entitled “Exploring the Digital Landscape in Malaysia”. It has quiet a bit of interesting facts and figures. Some of them are:-
1. One study based on data collected in 2010 and entitled Young people and New Media—Social uses, Social shapings and Social consequences, 50.5 per cent of the respondents aged 14–16 spent four or more hours a week phoning and texting, social networking and playing new media games using a variety of tools. About 17 per cent of them spent more than 12 hours a week on such activities. Respondents who reported sending and receiving over 80 text messages a week were significant: 29.8 per cent received in excess of 80 text messages a week, while 27.8 per cent sent in excess of 80 messages a week. More than a third (35.6 per cent) of respondents spent between one and 12 hours a week in cyber cafes; of these, 2.9 per cent spent 12 hours a week in cyber cafes
2. 68 per cent of participants in the CyberSAFE in Schools National Survey 2013 reported using the Internet for social media and 44 per cent use the Internet to do research for school. Social media use was higher among the older age groups (16–18 and 18+), with more than three-quarters in these age cohorts reporting that they use social media.
3. Young Malaysians are active users of social media, and children and young people (aged 13–24) make up nearly half of the Facebook users in the country
4. In the CyberSAFE in Schools National Survey 2013, one-quarter of the students said that they had been bullied online at some point. Half of them said they had never been bullied and others were unsure. Half of the participants knew at least one person being bullied online. Common forms of cyberbullying included someone being rude or sending nasty messages, being left out or ignored. Cyberbullying using Facebook and blogs is the most common, followed by SMS.
5. To date, Malaysia has not introduced specific legislation targeting crimes against children or adolescents as they interact with others through the Internet.
Read more about it at http://www.unicef.org/malaysia/UNICEF_Digital_Landscape_in_Malaysia-FINAL-lowres.pdf.
I was interviewed by BFM Radio to talk about the regulation of social media space in Malaysia on 17 February 2015.
The Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar recently cautioned Malaysians to be mindful of what they post on social media platforms like twitter in order not to get on the wrong side of the law. Foong Cheng Leong, a lawyer who specializes on internet law, discusses how the social media space is regulated in Malaysia, the limits to freedom of speech on the internet, and our government’s position on the net neutrality debate.
Dear Members of KL Bar and Pupils-In-Chambers,
The KLBC Information Technology Committee (“KLBC ITC”) for the term 2015/16 is calling for volunteers to serve on the committee which is established for:
• Promoting the use of IT by lawyers;
• Exploring new ways in which IT can improve members’ professional practice;
• Responsible for improving the communication of the KL Bar Committee with members on issues and concerns of members;
• Responsible for the enhancement of the IT system at the KL Bar Secretariat;
• Overseeing the management of the KL Bar Website (www.klbar.org.my) and all other Social Media network that it operates;
• Creating public awareness on Laws related to Information Technology;
• Professional Development Courses on Laws related to Information Technology for members;
The Projects for the term will be
• Revamping the KL Bar Website and Membership Management System
• Digitising the Petition Files
• KL Bar App
The inaugural meeting will be held on Monday, 16 March, 2015 at 6:00 pm at the KL Bar Meeting Room, 4th Floor, Wisma Hangsam, No.1 Jalan Hang Lekir, 50000 Kuala Lumpur.
The KLBC ITC is calling for volunteers who are keen to serve and promote the interests of your fellow members in the legal profession. If you are keen to serve, please email email@example.com (latest by 12 March 2015). Please state your name and place of practice/pupillage as well as email address/contact numbers for easy reference.
Foong Cheng Leong
KLBC Information Technology Committee
The Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia (MyIPO) is proposing to increase the filing fees of numerous applications in respect of trade mark and patents (including utility innovations) applications. The reason for the increase is due to “The escalating costs of upgrading the ICT system“.
The revision introduces the waiver of certain patents searching fees (online) and the reduction of certain fees for trade marks and patents. Meanwhile for certain patents and trade marks fees, an increase at an average of 5% to 50% is also proposed.
The most notable change for trade mark filing is the combination of application and advertisements fees (proposed rate of RM990 for efiling). The current fees structure requires applicants to pay the application fee (RM330 for efiling) and upon approval, the advertisement fees must be paid (RM600 for efiling). There is no indication as to whether the advertisement fees will be refunded if the application is not accepted.
I do not know whether this proposal will be rolled out and when it will be rolled out.
For more details, please see Consultation Paper – Proposed Trade Marks And Patents (Including Utility Innovations) Fees Revision
I am pleased to announce that I have been re-elected as a committee member of the Kuala Lumpur Bar Committee for the year 2015 / 2016.
I have also been appointed to chair the Kuala Lumpur Information Technology Committee. The Publication Committee is now a separate independent committee headed by Siti Munirah Maarof.
The full list of office-bearers of the Kuala Lumpur Bar Committee for 2015/16 are as follows:-
Committee members :
Goh Siu Lin
Harleen Kaur (Leena)
Foong Cheng Leong
Choo Dee Wei
Lim Chi Chau
Siti Munirah Maarof
Alex Anton Netto
Shashi Devan Thalmalingam
Representative to the Bar Council: Jeremiah R Gurusamy
The Personal Data Protection Commissioner has appointed the following associations as data user forum for the following sectors:-
1. Institut Akauntan Malaysia for the accounting and audit sectors;
2. Persatuan Jualan Langsung Malaysia for the direct selling sector;
3. Persatuan Bank-bank Dalam Malaysia for the banking and financial sectors;
4. Institut Jurutera Malaysia for the engineering services sector;
5. Institut Insurans Hayat Malaysia for the insurance sector;
6. Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia for the architecture sector;
7. Maxis Berhad for the telecommunications sector; and
8. Persatuan Hotel Malaysia for the travel and hospitality sector.
Last updated: 17 March 2015
Source: Personal Data Protection Department Registration Unit.
Article and photos contributed by Sarah Yong Li Hsien, Officer, Ad Hoc Committee on Personal Data Protection
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 09:43am
On 26 Nov 2014, the Bar Council Ad Hoc Committee on Personal Data Protection (“Committee”) visited the Personal Data Protection Department (“PDPD”) at the Ministry of Communication and Multimedia in Putrajaya. The delegation, led by Co-Chairpersons, Suaran Singh and Foong Cheng Leong, consisted of 11 persons, including committee officers, Sarah Yong Li Hsien and Anneliz Reina George.
Mazmalek b Mohamad, the newly-appointed Director General of PDPD and his Deputy, Dr Zainal Abidin b Sait were on hand to welcome the Committee. The purpose of the meeting was to introduce the Committee, and discuss various matters relating to the Personal Data Protection Act 2010 (“PDPA”).
The meeting started at 9:30 am and some of the matters discussed were whether the Malaysian Bar will be appointed as the data user forum for lawyers, and about the drafting of the code of practice for lawyers. The Committee informed PDPD that it has been working on the code and it may be ready by early next year.
PDPD informed the Committee that it is not necessary to obtain consent to process personal data of existing customers collected prior to the enforcement of the PDPA, and the privacy notice issued in accordance with the Notice and Choice Principle does not need to be sent via AR registered post, pursuant to section 136 of the PDPA.
It was also revealed during the discussion that investigations have been conducted on parties alleged to have breached the PDPA. However, none have been charged under the PDPA yet. Other technical and practical issues were also raised during the meeting.
The Committee will organise another meeting at a later date to discuss issues such as the data user forum and the issue of consent.
This is my slides presented during RWY Sports Law Conference 2014. Click here download.
Bread & Kaya: Tracing someone online
Nov 17, 2014
- Getting the IP address is one way, but may not always be possible
– On issue of defamation, Section 114A has been applied retrospectively
ONE of the most difficult issues to deal with in cybercrime or cyber-bullying cases is finding the perpetrator online. My years of blogging have brought me some experience in dealing with this issue, especially when dealing with ‘trolls.’
I am glad to say that it is not impossible. Some guesswork is needed. Normally, such a perpetrator is someone you know, although he or she may or may not be close to you. Sometimes, however, it would be just a stranger.
There was one case where the perpetrator was found to be a friend’s spouse whom the victim had only met a few times. Strangely, there was no animosity between these parties.
In one case which I was personally involved, I made a guess on the possible perpetrator and worked from there. Eventually, the person confessed after being confronted.
Getting the Internet Protocol (IP) address of the perpetrator is one of the conventional ways to track someone down. Internet service providers (ISPs) assign unique IP address to each user account. However, IP addresses may not be retrievable if the person is on a proxy server.
Another problem is the jurisdictional issue. Many servers storing such IP addresses may be located overseas and owned by foreign entities. One may have to initiate legal action overseas to get such data, and many of these service providers do not release their user information easily due to data protection laws or their strict privacy practices.
In the recent case of Tong Seak Kan & Anor v Loke Ah Kin & Anor  6 CLJ 904, the Plaintiffs initiated an action for cyberspace defamation against the 1st Defendant.
In tracing the perpetrator, who had posted defamatory statements on two Google Blogspot websites, the Plaintiffs filed an action called a John Doe action in the Superior Court of California. In compliance with the Court order, Google traced the blogs to two IP addresses which were revealed by Telekom Malaysia Bhd to be IP addresses belonging to the 1st Defendant’s account.
In the same case, the High Court had held that the controversial Section 114A (2) of the Evidence Act 1950 applied retrospectively.
S. 114A (2) provides that the burden of proof lies on the subscriber of an ISP to prove that a certain statement was not published by him or her. The 1st Defendant failed to convince the Court that s. 114A (2) does not apply because the defamatory statements were published before the enforcement date of s. 114A(2).
This retrospective stand however was not followed in the case of PP v Rutinin Bin Suhaimin  2 CLJ 427 as the High Court held that s. 114A does not apply retrospectively.
Perhaps the distinguishing factor between these cases is that the first case involved a civil dispute whereas the latter is a criminal prosecution.
Readers may recall that the #Stop114A campaign was initiated to get this law repealed. I am proud to say that Digital News Asia (DNA) was one of the organisers and participants in shutting down its website for one day. The campaign attracted the attention of Prime Minister Najib Razak but unfortunately, the law remained.
Going back to the case, the Court held that the 1st Defendant had failed to prove that he was not the publisher of the content. The 1st Defendant is now liable for a payment of RM600,000 (US$180,000) as damages to the Plaintiffs.
Not all tracing of a perpetrator requires an IP address. In Datuk Seri Anwar Bin Ibrahim v Wan Muhammad Azri Bin Wan Deris  3 MLRH 21, Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim (pic) sued Wan Muhammad Azri Bin Wan Deris, allegedly a well-known blogger called Papagomo, for defamation.
In proving the identity of Papagomo, instead of tracing the IP address of Papagomo, the Court relied on the statement of a person who had met Papagomo in person before. The former also took a picture with Papagomo and this picture was tendered in Court.
There are other unconventional methods to identify a person online. I have heard of a private investigator entering a person’s home without knowledge to gain access to the computer of that person.
Many people do not password-protect their home computers and leave their email and other online accounts still logged into. This allows the private investigator to easily access a person’s emails and other online accounts without any technical skills.
One method that I always use is to find something unique in the content posted by the perpetrator. For example, I recently concluded that a website was held by a cyber-squatter by doing a Google search on certain sentences that appeared on the website. The cyber-squatter’s website looked like a legitimate website, but the search revealed that the same facade had been employed by the cyber-squatter on several websites using well-known brand names.
If there are images involved, a Google Image search would be useful to find whether other websites are hosting the same image.
It is of utmost importance that one must have reliable evidence to prove the identity of a perpetrator before suing or charging them. The person doing such investigation should be knowledgeable enough to conduct the investigation, know the rules of producing evidence and testifying in Court, and to thwart all challenges by the perpetrator’s lawyers.
Failure to do so would result in the case being dismissed or in a worst scenario, an innocent person being charged or sued in Court.
First published on Digital News Asia on 17 November 2014.