Weekly Highlights

Stop Sales of MySejahtera App as it Could Threaten Security and Democracy

All the government had to do is create an application to monitor the Covid-19 outbreak and keep the data gathered secure under the Ministry of Health.

But there’s already so much brouhaha because keeping a promise seems something the government simply cannot do.

Not only has it been revealed that MySejahtera has been developed by KPISoft Malaysia Sdn Bhd without a contract but now there are talks about the application being sold to a private company.

This is despite the Health Ministry’s repeated assurances that data collected would be kept confidential and safe.

The MySejahtera application has a huge amount of data about peoples’ health, their movements, preferences and habits.

Imagine if this data is compromised: could this amount to a national security threat? Or the personal identifiable information used in political campaigns during the next polls, for example?

If You Don't Fully Understand the Cambridge Analytica Scandal, Read This  Simplified Version | Inc.com
I am not stretching my thoughts: remember the infamous Cambridge Analytica scandal in 2016, which said it created personal profiles on over 240 million Americans by mining personal data that was used to micro-target American voters during the 2016 presidential election?

And again, without the knowledge of the public, the same approach was used during the 2016 Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom.

Just scroll through Twitter to read the uproar from Malaysians, whose private data and information are at stake of being abused.

While some are demanding reassurance that their data would be kept safe, others are condemning UMNO for corruption and abuse of private data for profit. Others hint they wouldn’t respond when it’s time to update the application.

Mark Zuckerberg Wants to Read Your Human Brain | Vanity Fair
Not too long ago, we were screaming at Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg for directly collecting user’s information, leading to a Senate testimony. This decision by the government would have a direct impact on our safety, even.

People have been concerned about using the MySejahtera application from the start because they know it could be used to mine information. And they haven’t been all that wrong, have they?

It’s all been shrouded in secrecy from the beginning: the relationship between the application developer and the government is unclear. It’s suspicious that the contract was awarded through direct negotiations and not an open tender. And to boot, the ownership of the company that developed the application and that which is going to buy it seems to overlap as well, pointing to corruption and cronyism.

Firstly, the MySejahtera application was developed for the purposes of managing and mitigating the Covid-19 pandemic.

Secondly, the government has promised to not just to keep the data safe but also said it won’t share the information with a third party.

So, here’s the thing: the government must quit making unilateral decisions, be transparent and learn to honour its words.

And in this case, it needs the buy in of the people who have been using the MySejahtera application. Would it get the approval? The answer is a resounding No!

Charles Santiago
Member of Parliament Klang

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