KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 26 — An Umno lawmaker claimed in Parliament today that the usage of the Google Maps and Waze navigation apps could threaten national security as it gave foreign countries like the US and Israel information about Malaysia.
Communications and Multimedia Deputy Minister Datuk Jailani Johari, however, told Tenom MP Datuk Raime Unggi that it was up to users to decide how much personal information they wished to share and that they could choose to stop using the apps if they disagreed with the privacy policies.
“We can’t consider all ICT as taboo as we will be left behind,” Jailani said in Parliament during Question Time, using the initials for information and communications technology.
“The real issue is that our users are fond of over-sharing private information on the internet. This results in the information being misused. As a smart internet user, we should have our own controls,” the Hulu Terengganu MP added.
Raime had said in his question that “Malaysians are very dependent on Google Map(s) and Waze for location searching and this has indirectly provided information about Malaysia to external quarters such as the United States and Israel and it could lead to external threats”.
Kuala Selangor MP Datuk Irmohizam Ibrahim, also from Umno, said Malaysia cannot compromise on national security.
“How far do we have laws that prevent information leaks in the usage of Google and Waze? Are there laws to make sure national security protected in the usage of such apps?” Irmohizam questioned in Parliament.
Jailani responded and said Google Maps and Waze information was generated from their user base.
US-based Google owns both Waze and the Google Maps services, after it acquired the former in 2013.
Amanah lawmaker Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli claimed in a press conference later that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would give foreign countries access to Malaysians’ personal data used in Google Maps and Waze.
“This can be recorded and accessed in another country, our movement and the things that we have, our personal data. With TPP, we are exposed,” Hatta asserted.
Kelana Jaya MP Wong Chen from PKR said the free trade treaty required Malaysia to allow the transfer of electronic information to other countries.
“TPP prohibition on data localisation laws (Article 14.13) essentially means personal info that is hosted abroad would be subject to different laws on privacy; for instance, your personal data could be subjected to US surveillance laws such as the US Patriot Act,” he said.