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Need for enhanced data protection

  • The responsibility does not lie with the organ donors alone; the authorities must also bear part of the responsibility for allowing confidential personal information to be leaked out to unauthorized persons.

Sin Chew Daily

It is shocking to find the particulars of some 46.2 million mobile phone accounts leaked to unauthorized parties in the country last year. To add to the shock, the particulars of more than 440,000 organ donors and their trustees were also leaked, reflecting the seriousness of this issue and an urgent need for the authorities to take immediate action.

According to Lowyat.net, the personal particulars of some 220,394 organ donors have been leaked out for more than a year, including their IC numbers, addresses, mobile phone numbers, nationality, race and age, among others. The leaked information also includes the particulars of their specified close relatives. This puts the total number of victims of leaked information to about 440,000.

Weirdly, it was the same source that first exposed the incidents of leaked information involving handphone users and organ donors, namely Lowyat.net.

The Commercial Crime Investigation Department has initiated the investigation in hope of finding more clues to the incidents.

Even though between the two cases there are more handphone users involved in the information leak, it is the leak involving organ donors that is more serious and alarming, given the fact personal particulars of organ donors are supposed to be held in strict confidentiality.

Organ donation has never really taken off in this country. A total of 394,809 individuals have pledged to donate their organs upon their deaths as of last August, a mere 1.3% of the country's total population.

The information leak may further dampen the will of Malaysians to donate their organs.

Additionally, the relevant authorities have an obligation to ensure that personal details of organ donors are strictly protected. The latest incident has not only infringed on the privacy of donors, but has also impacted the credibility of the authorities.

While some of the leaks could be blamed on personal negligence for carelessly providing their personal particulars to unauthorized personnel, in the above-mentioned case the responsibility nevertheless does not lie with the organ donors alone, as the authorities must bear part of the responsibility.

In addition to police investigation, it is utterly essential for all involved parties to review their operations in a bid to strengthen the protection of organ donor's particulars so that similar incidents could be avoided in future.

Due to repeated leaks of personal information, it is imperative that individuals involved and the relevant authorities stay highly alert and take the necessary actions to protect the confidential personal information.

Those involved must adopt practical measures to prevent the situation from getting worse, allowing confidential information of innocent Malaysians to fall into the hands of irresponsible quarters and criminals.

 

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