The Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) urges a #BetterDigitalWorld in ensuring the safety of Internet users in conjunction with this year’s World Consumers Day theme as proposed by Consumers International, ‘Consumer Rights in the Digital Age’.
In the digital world today, everything is at the tip of our fingers.However, do we as consumers ensure the safety of our ‘well-being’ in the digital world? Over the years, there have been many cases from online fraud, data stealing to becoming hubs for immoral activities despite the growing efforts from the government and bodies to ensure optimal cyber security.
In addition to our existing laws such as the Personal Data Protection Act 2010 (PDPA), Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, among many others, CAP urges the government and relevant bodies to ensure regulations are up to date for the safety of consumers and their information online in order to keep up with the growing evolution of technology and communication.
The regulations should be comprehensive; covering various types of cybercrimes but most importantly, to protect the rights and safety of consumers of digital technologies.
Besides that, consumers are encouraged toknow the laws involving the cyber world and know their rights. For instance, a consumer has the right to withdraw consent to personal data and if the data user does not comply, it will be liable to a fine of up to RM100,000 or a maximum of one-year jail, or both under the PDPA.
Besides that, extra caution needs to be exercised particularly in giving out names, addresses, identification card/passport numbers, email addresses, telephone numbers, as well as banking details.
CAP believes that education is as important as implementing cyber laws particularly to the younger generation. Awareness and education on cyber security and crimes should be incorporated in schools and programmes to educate children on the digital world. The younger generation of today must be aware of the information they give out online and how it will be used by companies and individuals.
Parents should also play their part in creating a safe digital world for their young ones. Referring to recent cases of sexual predators lurking on social media websites and applications, parents should educate and guide their children in using the internet wisely and safely.
Today, there are many softwares that can be purchased and are readily available to be used by parents to monitor their children’s online activities. Besides that, stringent regulations should also be implemented in curbing this misuse of the Internet.
It is crucial that consumers of today understand that there are still loopholes and dangers while using the internet particularly involving our own information. Thus, it is our responsibility as digital consumers to ensure our safety and in making a #BetterDigitalWorld.
SM MOHAMED IDRIS is president, Consumers Association of Penang (CAP).