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Worried About Your Data While Using Gerak Malaysia? We Asked A Lawyer About It

Worried About Your Data While Using Gerak Malaysia? We Asked A Lawyer About It

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After the government has announced that Malaysians who are stuck in their hometowns can now make the journey back, many expressed privacy concerns.

This is because you have to apply via the Gerak Malaysia app which would collect your personal data.

The Gerak Malaysia app is required for those who want to travel between states during the Movement Control Order (MCO), especially those coming back to the cities from their kampungs.

However, many expressed privacy concerns regarding the app and the type of personal data it collects.

To understand more about your privacy and data while using the app, we’ve asked Foong Cheng Leong, a lawyer who specialises on Intellectual Property, Information Technology, Internet, Social Media and Cyber laws, Franchise, Privacy and Data Protection laws.

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 MyGerak 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.

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 MyGerak 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.

According to their privacy policy (which you can check out here), the application states that they will always collect your location data and record all of your locations after you have granted it permission via your smartphone.

Picture Credit: Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Corporation (MCMC)

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.

Picture Credit: MCMC

To conclude

Currently, we are living in a pandemic and although personal data is important, but as Foong mentioned, the cost of public health outweighs privacy.

Although some might not agree, it’s helpful for the government to keep track of their movement for now as it can help keep the virus at bay.

As for the question of whether to download or delete, for now it’s compulsory to use the app if you’re travelling interstate, so we have to bear with it for a while.

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