I was interviewed by The Rakyat Post on the use of the Malaysian Government’s mobile application “Gerak Malaysia” which was introduced to allow Malaysians to apply for permission to travel between states during the Movement Control Order, among others. An excerpt (with modification) from the article is reproduced below).
What do you think of the government implementing the Gerak Malaysia app? Do you think it’s an effective move?
The success of the mobile application largely depends on the signup. If not many sign up for it, it will not be very effective. Nevertheless, it is a good idea to have it.
From a security standpoint, do you think that the Gerak Malaysia app is safe?
The mobile application requires quite a lot of personal data of the user. This includes their latest home address, identity card, email, mobile number and location data.
The worry that many Malaysians have now is that what happens if there is a data breach as we have seen in many cases in the world.
We have received numerous unsolicited calls and messages in the past and many of these were attributed to past data breaches due to the lackadaisical practice by private and Government agencies.
There doesn’t seem to be any remedies for the Malaysians who were subject to such data breaches, especially against the Government.
But it is understood that such information is required to track people as soon as possible to deter the further spread of Covid-19. Public health overrides privacy in this case.
Do you think that somehow Gerak Malaysia is designed to be a way for the government to monitor the movement of Malaysians when they travel?
One of the purposes of the mobile application is to track the movement of Malaysians.
The location information is also used to track the movement of Covid-19 positive users or any individuals who have close contact with those who are positive, and to inform them to undergo home/quarantine isolation or seek immediate medical attention.