Cybersecurity Law and Public Policy Concerns in Southeast Asia and Malaysia

By
Bradley Fowler, MA, MS, MPP, MMIS

The European Union has been working in concert with the United States and Canada as well as other countries, Parliaments, and Ministries, with hopes of enacting laws to deter cyber incidents. The EU efforts have helped deploy an effective approach to assessing how deterrence can be useful in decreasing cybercriminals from achieving successful nefarious acts that impact global economies and democracy. When new laws and policy are enacted, they safeguard against the unauthorized confiscation of sensitive data compiled on citizens living in the EU and outside of the EU, without authorization. However, not all country’s governments are interested in aligning their Internet laws, regulatory, and policy with the EU, United States, and Canada. In fact, recent research conveys that Southeast Asia countries are being bombarded by government and military oppression who are violating citizens privacy through the control of Internet accessibility.

Malaysia’s government has been reported as partnering with Huawei and Cybersecurity Malaysia to begin regulating how citizens access the Internet and for what purposes. In fact, the Malaysia government is attempting to hold its citizens accountable to the traditions woven into the fabric of the country’s history and culture, and control how citizens engage online, not only in Malaysia but outside the country. Such actions are a direct violation of the United States Constitution which encompasses U.S. citizens right to privacy and violates U.S. citizens ability to utilize the Internet for their personal and professional growth and economic stability. Moreover, such an act violates the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation that was passed in 2016 by the EU’s 28 member states.

One of the most important components to defining an effective management model to safeguard citizens access and usage of the Internet is relying on laws and policy. The EU’s attempt to be an origin on ideology regarding what should be applied to help global citizens effectively manage their privacy and their access to the Internet, is a reliable approach that countries are adopting and integrating into their regulatory infrastructure to govern their country’s and protect their citizens privacy and sensitive data. Therefore, other countries have joined forces with the EU. When a country neglects to align with other countries in effectively and efficiently deploying safeguards that enable citizens to access the Internet for their professional and personal purposes. Such a country is sending a negative message to the world.

While conducting research on 43 countries cybersecurity public policy, it was clear that many countries are willing to partner with other countries to establish framework that will increase the cybersecurity of their citizens and lower the ability for their citizens to become victims of cyber incidences. Many countries have even prepared clearly written cybersecurity policy that speaks a universal language and stresses the need for global partnerships to be established. Yet some countries remain vigilant against building partnerships with external countries and cite such in their cybersecurity policy (i.e., Morocco). This is a code alarm!

To successfully win the war against cybercriminals it is essential to build a global alliance that enables all countries to successfully increase penalties for any external and internal cyber-attack agent that violates each country’s laws, regulatory, and policy. This also requires all countries to increase their communication and share data openly about the type of cybercrime incidences deployed against their territories. With the integration of Cybersecurity Incidence Reporting Centre’s being established in many countries, this is a step forward in reducing the stress of trying to determine what types of cyber-crimes are being committed globally. And even though countries are establishing cybersecurity incident reporting centre, some governments, Parliaments, and Ministries are neglecting to render citizens human rights and freedom to utilize the Internet for their individual economic growth and development, as a method of trying to decrease the impact of cyber incidences and ICT vulnerabilities. For instance, Malaysia and other Southeast Asian countries neglect to enable citizens to access the Internet for personal and professional reasons. While the EU, United States, Canada, Germany, Dubai as well as many other countries are networking and increasing citizens ability to utilize the Internet safely and securely without fear.

These countries are the epitome of cybersecurity excellence and thrive to increase cybersecurity awareness training and education for their citizens, both public and private. But how can these countries build trust and reliance with Malaysia and other Southeastern Asia countries, who are deeply entrenched in traditional concepts of ignorance and insist on denying citizens the right to access the Internet, to increase their personal wealth, education attainability, and explore the world we all live in. Thus, it’s time to increase awareness training and education of cybersecurity and cyber incidence reporting and invoke a global alliance that other countries who are not willing to join forces with, will diminish their fears and age-old traditions, and willfully agree to align policy and law that enables all citizens worldwide to access the Internet, and cease barbaric methodologies of oppression and bullying. The very reason cybersecurity public policy exists.

Reference

ASEAN Today. (2021. May 25). Malaysia and Huawei Open Southeast Asia’s First Cybersecurity Center to Support 5G Growth. Retrieved from: https://www.aseantoday.com/2021/02/malaysia-and-huawei-open-southeast-asias-first-cybersecurity-center-to-support-5g-growth/

Human Rights Watch. (2018. June 6). The EU General Data Protection Regulation. Retrieved from: https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/06/06/eu-general-data-protection-regulation