Big NO to more social media control

I was quoted by The Star in their article “Big NO to more social media control” on 14 June 2013.

My opinion on the privacy is based on a South Korean case which held that a law requiring South Koreans to use their real names on Internet forums was unconstitutional.

Big NO to more social media control

PETALING JAYA: Internet users and even government regulators have responded with a resounding “No” to additional restrictions on social media, saying current laws are sufficient.

The Malaysian Communications and Multi­media Commission chairman Datuk Mohamed Sharil Tarmizi said the bigger issue is about educating Internet users to self-regulate.

“I’m not for putting in more laws. I’m for putting control in their own hands and exercising self-control,” he said when contacted.

If people are responsible enough not to post irresponsible messages on the Internet, there should not be anything to worry about, he added.

“This is what MCMC has been advocating for a long time.

“Parents have to take care of what their children are reading on the Internet and people also have to know for themselves what is right and wrong,” he said.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak asked the public to suggest the type of “positive regulation”.

“I want to open this to the public and social media users to suggest the type of positive control that we need to implement to ensure responsible usage and that the information presented is not against any law,” he said at the Malaysian MPI-Petronas Media Awards 2012.

He also said that the Government will not be implementing restrictions on online news portals similar to those in Singapore, where popular ones have to be licensed.

Technology and IT patent lawyer Foong Cheng Leong said that the current laws were enough.

“Any further attempt to make anonymous bloggers or social media users reveal their true identities will be unconstitutional,” he said.

Citing a Federal Court ruling, he said the Constitution which provides for the right to personal liberty also includes the right to privacy.

He added that bloggers and Internet users found to be committing illegal acts can always be charged under existing laws.

At present, conduct on the Internet is governed by the Penal Code, the Multimedia and Communications Act, Sedition Act and Defamation Act among others.

Foong added that technology alone enables the Government and the authorities to trace anonymous website owners and users.

“If the Malaysian Government has a good relationship with countries where social media sites operate from, the users are easily traceable,” he said.

Popular blogger Datuk Ahirudin Attan who owns the blog also echoed the view that it would be impractical for more regulations.

“We should tell people that it’s fine that they have the freedom of expression, but there are limits to what we can do and say,” he said.

At the same time, he said that he had always expressed the view that bloggers should not be anonymous and that they should be accountable for what they write.


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