on Tuesday, 15 July 2003
Ooo... before I stop, I'd better say my piece about MyKad. Just the other day, The Star reported that the Director-General of the NRD commented on the under-utilisation of MyKad. MyKad utilises the smart-card technology and, at present, provides these 7 functionality or applications:

  1. As an identification card,
  2. A driving license,
  3. International passport,
  4. Storage of health information,
  5. E-Cash,
  6. ATM services; and
  7. Touch n' Go and Public Key encryption infrastructure.

While there has been extension coverage of the benefits of the usage of a MyKad by the local media, there was hardly any discussion or information regarding its security and any contingency plans for stolen cards or information access rights. What happens when my card gets stolen? Will the thief with the appropriate reader be able to illegally use or sell my personal information? Or will I face discrimination when looking for a job or trying to get insurance based on my stored health information?

Belkisa Lim recently sent a letter to Malaysiakini. In it, the author mentioned a hotel booking incident using MyKad, the very first time the author made a booking. It seems that just based on the MyKad number, the person with the right tool can find out everything about you: including your name, phone numbers (home, mobile, and office) and address.

Frightening? I for one, think so. I value my privacy, especially my whereabouts on any given day. This sort of information easily allows the government to track our daily activities. I have a feeling that when the government finally makes it mandatory for all Malaysian citizens to switch to MyKad, our situation is going to be like the Americans and their Social Security numbers. With a simple number, everything about you and all you've done from the point of having the card can be recalled with a single click. My question is: Who has access to all this information? Why doesn't the government release information on the precautions taken to prevent such things? Or was there no consideration at all, given the government's track record of reckless implementation and lack of detailed planning?

Until the government forces me to, or assures me satisfactorily of its safety, I'm sticking to cards that each perform a specialised function.

Read this one by TV Smith.