Barometer

Re Evidence Act

Disclaimer: This is a rant.

Our government is adamant that the amendments it is pushing through vis-a-vis S.114A of the Evidence Act is necessary to make Internet users responsible for their on-line activities.

According to the article, our de-factor Minister of Law claimed that, “Sometimes with slanderous or libellous statements online, it is difficult to enforce the law against them because it isn’t easy to find the person who first put the information on the Internet, which results in no action being taken but a person has been aggrieved.”

Lazy ass mofo.

Can I say that this is the result of lazy and stupid police work. You need to hire better law enforcers and send them for the appropriate training. Other countries are able to capture and take down hackers, pirates, and various other people who commit crimes on the Internet.

If our local police are unable to do so, they need to learn to do it. While I agree that the amount of work necessary is quite involved, that’s the whole point. The government does not get a free ride and point the fingers freely at anyone they feel like without any proof.

He goes further to add that, “Under the amended Act, we shift the burden to the owner of the laptop or account so that we can get to the source”. The amendments flip Justice on its head by shifting the burden of proof to the accused, The Malaysian Bar, said they were concerned with the presumption of guilt in the Act.

According to the article, “Internet users have criticised the amendment, saying it was unfair as websites and social networking accounts could be easily hacked to post defamatory statements.”

As a computer expert and a student of Law, I would like to say that hacking isn’t the issue here. The point is that there is no evidence that one can submit to prove that the statement isn’t theirs. You cannot seek proof for something that doesn’t exist. It’s just not mathematically possible.

That’s like asking someone to proof that they’re not Santa Claus.

Further stupidity is present in the article, “However, some users agreed with the amendment, saying it was logical that the person whose name was associated with the account be held responsible for statements made on the account. If it was not you, then you need to prove it.”

Can I humbly ask in my utter stupidity – how do you prove that an account doesn’t belong to you?

Let’s say that I create a random Google account and call it Mark Zuckerberg. I proceed to write about stuff at Facebook. I even post photos of my recent wedding with Dr Chan. I talk about my daily net-worth as it fluctuates with the stock price. I build up the profile over time and then one day, Mark is asked to prove that the Google account doesn’t belong to him.

What evidence can he submit to prove that?

He can swear under oath, submit a statutory declaration that says that he is not Mark Zuckerberg because he would not get caught dead with a Google account. But that’s not proof. That’s not even doubt. It’s utterly irrelevant.

He can swear that he doesn’t know the password to the account. I can be totally honest about it too because I seriously do not know my passwords. I can swear that I don’t even know my password to this WordPress account.

He can swear that he has never ever logged into Google before but it can be shown that there have been a lot of logins to Google from Facebook computers. Even if that wasn’t true, he could have logged in via a third party network such as TOR or an open proxy.

I hope that I have made my point.

There is no evidence that Mark can submit to prove that the account doesn’t belong to him. The only way to do that would be for him to actually find out whom that account belongs to and to prove that the account belongs to someone else.

But according to our government, that’s too difficult for our government to do. Imagine how difficult that would be for a private citizen like Mark or me.

We’re all screwed if this law goes through.

It’s senseless.

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Published by

Shawn Tan

Chip Doctor, Chartered Engineer, Entrepreneur, Law Graduate.

One thought on “Re Evidence Act”

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