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PUBLISHED: Jan 12, 2016 6:27pm

Social media monitoring an invasion of privacy, says Empower

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RAJINA DHILLON By:
Rajina Dhillon

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar says police have no choice but to beef up social media monitoring because users were abusing available platforms by issuing insensitive comments. — File pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 12, 2016:

Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar’s declaration of stricter social media monitoring recently was just the government’s way of justifying “restrictions and criminalisation” of freedom of expression in the name of public order.

In saying this, Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (Empower) voiced specific concern over the IGP having named mobile chat application What’s App as one of the social media platforms.

To them, any monitoring of exchanges via the application constituted “spying” on private communications, thus a violation of privacy.

“It remains unclear how the police and Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) intend to ‘monitor’ the expressions and activities of social media and instant messaging users in Malaysia, and how the data collected will be used.

“Facebook alone has 40 million users in the country. Questions as to the scale and scope of the monitoring, the methods (cyber-stalking, communication interception, malware etc), the storage and protection of data collected must be answered to the satisfaction of the people of Malaysia,” said Empower president Janarthani Arumugam.

Arumugam added that cyber space has become an extension of the human rights and democracy struggle, with the Internet offering space for people to come together through the sharing of ideas.

This, she said, coupled with Malaysia’s rights under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Federal Constitution, should lead to authorities upholding freedom of expression and privacy.

The IGP today said the police had no choice but to beef up social media monitoring because users were abusing available platforms by issuing insensitive comments.

He also revealed that the monitoring would include What’s App.

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