Cybersecurity | Government banned from collecting internet data

The final draft of the cyber security law was discussed and passed at yesterday’s Legislative Assembly (AL) session.

The bill proposed to set up the Committee for Cybersecurity and Cybersecurity Incident Alert and Response Center (CARIC). According to the bill, internet service providers (ISPs) would retain, for at least one year, their users’ online activity logs. The government added another article inside the bill proposing that computer data shall not be collected or analyzed by the government authority.

“Free circulation of internet can give the residents freedom of speech, which is a rather important right. In the future, when the cybersecurity law is implemented, [the government] should not censor the content of telecommunications,” said Sou, who also expressed concern regarding the mandatory obligation for ISPs to retain logs on online activities.

Questioned by Angles Lam, Wong Sio Chak, Secretary for Security, explained that the Judiciary Police (PJ) will be the only organization supervising cybersecurity activities.

In response to Sou, Secretary for Security Wong Sio Chak stated, “I have said that our operation will not involve online speech.”

“Monitoring cybersecurity will not involve content nor ISPs. Even if there is a problem, [the concerned party] can report to a supervision body, the court, or the Commission Against Corruption,” said Wong.

“The police have no right to block a website. It is illegal. We will not ask the police to do that, as it is illegal. If they do that, it is also illegal,” said Wong. “If the operator does not agree with us accessing online activity, we can’t do it. The PJ will not do it.”

After the law was passed, Zheng Anting and Sulu Sou made their statements.

“The government can conduct more promotional campaigns to let residents know about the necessity of cybersecurity and about protecting Macau’s safety,” said Zheng.

“The whole world wants to implement cyber security, and for that, government of Macau’s neighboring region – and all over the world – monitor, sensor, block and delete online speech. This law will give the government authority the right to monitor the internet, collect data and even take exceptional measures,” said Sou.

“Even though the government authority has already provided an explanation, it is still likely to abuse the abovementioned rights. The freedom of telecommunications and the freedom of the internet will disappear,” said Sou.

Separately, two other bills were passed during the AL session, one on the minimum wage bill of cleaning staff and building security workers of property management companies and the other on the consolidation of the financial resources of the Social Security Fund.

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