Privacy Online vs Identity Theft on the Internet: Is the Law adequate in Malaysia?
Historically, people tended to live in small self-contained and relatively static communities in which one’s character was a matter of public knowledge and identification was automatic. The localization of assistance for the poor was a disincentive to mobility for many and an itinerant criminal population was not viewed as problematic as punishment was largely immediate and corporeal. Records were kept locally but the lack of a fast and efficient communications system meant that it was not practically possible to share information with other localities. It was accepted that offenders tended to leave prison, change their names and move to another area, presumably to continue offending. Methods were developed that enabled the authorities to “fix” individuals with an identity, such as anthropometry and photography, but these were not wholly reliable and storage and distribution of the information remained an impediment to effective enforcement. The Internet provides unparalleled opportunities for those seeking a new identity to access the necessary information. One of the anomalies of Internet use is that although it is much more difficult to verify identity and sincerity online many users appear to be more trusting of those met online than those they encounter in person. This leads Internet users to be far less security minded in relation to their personal information when they are online than they are in ‘real life’ situations. Certainly, there is evidence to suggest that many Internet users are cautious about the safety of Internet transaction that require them to provide their debit or credit card details but there appears to be an almost reckless disregard for basic security precautions in relation to publications of any other personal information on the Internet. The problem is even more prevalent in relation to usage of the Internet by children as children are less protective of their information as compared to that of adults. In the online world children could unwittingly reveal enough personal details like their address and telephone number to enable their identity to be stolen. Thus it is important for individuals to know how to keep their private information private as a simple gesture of giving out information to an unknown person might lead to various other issues on the Internet, including abuse of their privacy
Keywords - Privacye; Internet; Children; Data Protection