Internet: Guilty until proven innocent

Following from the forum “Section 114A Evidence Act: Crime-busting or Online Control?” organised by Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ), Selangor Times reported the following:-

Writer: Basil Foo
Published: Fri, 15 Jun 2012

KUALA LUMPUR: Internet users whose accounts are hacked into will be presumed guilty for unlawful online posts by the actual perpetrators under recent amendments to the Evidence Act, something that is being criticised as absurd.

The Evidence (Amendment) (No 2) Act 2012 will reportedly hold Internet users liable for any content posted through their registered networks or data processing devices.

“For example, if someone parks outside your house and uses your Wifi to post (illegal content online),” said KL Bar Council IT committee co-chairman Foong Cheng Leong.


Participants are all ears at the forum.

He was speaking during the “Section 114A Evidence Act: Crime-busting or Online Control?” forum at the KL-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall recently.

Foong said laws presuming guilt have always been around, including for individuals who were deemed to be traffickers if they were arrested with a certain amount of drugs.

“The Dangerous Drugs Act (discourages) people from carrying drugs. Will this Act (discourage) people from using the Internet?” he asked.

Center for Independent Journalism (CIJ) director Jac SM Kee said the Act was illogical as victims who sought help after their accounts had been hacked or report the crime to police may find themselves behind bars.

Even if someone else posts an offensive comment on a person’s Facebook wall, the latter could be found guilty.

“Business will be affected. If they provide Wifi (and offensive items are posted through their connection), they are responsible,” said BFM Media Sdn Bhd producer Jeff Sandhu.

He said if restaurants in the city are required by law to provide free Wifi and their Internet connections are open to abuse by irresponsible users, business owners will find themselves caught between a rock and a hard place.

Digital News Asia executive editor A Asohan said the Act put average Internet users at the mercy of tech-savvy users who could abuse the former’s unsecure Internet connections.

He said an analyst from investment firm Mackenzie traced 4.1 per cent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) coming from online activities.

“You want to create a high income nation, this is going to put damper on it. You can’t have an Internet community when people fear to go on the Internet,” he added.

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