I was featured by The Star in their article “Getting ‘played’ over games“. I was asked to comment about online impersonation in Malaysia.
Bar Council information technology and cyberlaw committee deputy chairman Foong Cheng Leong said somebody who impersonates another person online could be breaking the law if the actions fall within criminal activity.
“For example, impersonation to gain monetary benefit could amounting to cheating.
“Impersonation, as a prank, is not a criminal act,” he explains.
Hence, it is considered a crime in cases where the online impersonator asks for money from unsuspecting victims – or as in the case of this latest twist, tricking them into buying game credits for them.
Such an offence comes under Section 420 of the Penal Code for cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property.
It is a crime punishable with a jail term of between one and 10 years, with whipping and a fine.
However, even the act of hacking into a person’s social media account alone, whether it is a prank or not, crosses into the criminal realm.
Under the Computer Crimes Act, a person who gains unauthorized access to computer material is guilty of an offence.
Those convicted could be liable to a maximum fine of RM50,000, five years in jail or both.
Hacking with intent to commit further offences, including fraud, also amounts to a crime.
If found guilty, the court can sentence a person to a maximum fine of RM150,000, a 10 year jail term or both.