Interview on BFM – 2.3.2011

My firm hooked me up with BFM radio station when BFM was looking for a lawyer to speak about social media.

If you’re wondering who and what is BFM. It’s a radio station with a focus on business. They interview people from various industries daily and even have programs on how to improve your business. I listen to it everyday.

Barely 5 hours of sleep I marched to BFM’s office for my interview and arrived there at 645am.

It was still dark when I got there.

There was only 5 people in the entire office at that time and they were already on air! I didn’t know that you can run a radio program with 5 people.

Khoo Hsu Chuang was my interviewer. He is one of my favourite BFM DJs. I love it whenever he shoots interviewees when they evade or doesn’t answer his questions. But I got a little bit worried when I found out that he was my interviewer. Heh

Chuang and I had a short discussion on the topics to be discussed. I was warned not to swear otherwise they would have to use the “dumb” button to censor me. Hehe. It was difficult for me not to swear!!

You can listen to my interview below. Here’s a synopsis of the interview.

… discusses the legal aspects of social media, focusing in particular on online defamation, admissibility of online data in courts, cybersquatting, domain disputes, and whether there should there be regulation of the Internet and social media, whether directly or indirectly.

He also discusses the fine line between fair Internet policing and control over the Internet, proposed Amendments to the PPPA and the perceived threats to online publications and bloggers.

He also talks about the Malaysian Personal Data Protection Act 2010 (not in force yet) and explains its implications for the ordinary layman.

It was the first time I had to speak live on national radio. Some of the topics can be quite sensitive especially when it comes to Government plans. I have to tip toe the line. I rather be seen as apolitical.

After the interview was done, I took some pictures with Chuang and producer Chun (on the right).

It was definitely a good experience. I initially thought not many people listened to it as it was so early in the morning. However, I was surprise that some of my friends were listening to the radio. Some even tweeted questions to me!

Coincidentally, on the next day, I was invited as a guest at the NTV7 Breakfast Show. Will blog about it later!

Featured on Sin Chew Newspaper!


Mum said I look 40 years old here. Perhaps ill look like this when I’m 40.

You can read the article at Sin Chiew’s website or download the article here. It’s a 2 page article posted on the Cyberworld section. I didn’t write the article but I contributed the cases – which took me an hour to compile. I wasn’t expecting anything, probably a small acknowledgment. I didn’t expect my face to be there.

Frankly, I can’t read or write Chinese well. I have a general idea on what was mentioned in the article but not in detail. Aaahh whyyy wasn’t I sent to Chinese schoooolllll…knsss

p/s: got a new client through the article!

[Edit: A rough translation of the article in English can be seen here]

Finnish Court of Appeal Rules on Unauthorized Use of Neighbour’s WLAN Connection

Technology has now brought us so much convenience. Many years ago, the only place where I could surf the net was at home. Now, I can even surf the net in a boat.

Recently, the Finnish Court fined a guy who used his neighbour’s unsecured WLAN (commonly known as Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi is actually a trade mark) without his neighbour’s consent.

Source: International Law Office

Contributed by Roschier Attorneys Ltd

June 02 2009

On March 31 2009 the Turku Court of Appeal confirmed a ruling of the District Court of Salo in a matter where an IT professional had repeatedly exploited a neighbour’s unprotected wireless local area network (WLAN) connection without consent.(1) Both courts held that the intentional unauthorized use of a neighbour’s WLAN connection constitutes petty unauthorized use under Chapter 28, Section 9 of the Penal Code and is thus subject to a fine.

As grounds, the Court of Appeal stated, among other things, that although a connection to a neighbour’s base station might be made accidentally, after becoming aware of this situation the unauthorized user must immediately disconnect in order to avoid penal liability. The court also stated that the defendant must have been aware of the fact that the use of the connection was unauthorized and harmful to the subscriber to the connection. The defendant did not have justified grounds to assume that, because the connection was unprotected, implied consent had been given for its use. The court further ruled that the fact that the defendant had repeatedly used the neighbour’s connection indicated that the conduct was intentional.

I did a quick search on the internet and found that Chapter 28, Section 9 of the Finnish Penal Code states as follows:

Section 9 – Petty unauthorised use (769/1990)

If the unauthorised use, when assessed as a whole, with due consideration to the fact that the offence is not conducive to causing significant loss or inconvenience, or to the other circumstances connected with the offence, is to be deemed petty, the offender shall be sentenced for petty unauthorised use to a fine.

Malaysia doesn’t have a similiar section though.

I bet 9/10 internet users in Malaysia have done this before i.e. using an unsecured WIFI connection belonging to another to surf the net. Strangely, this method is called “piggybacking“.

So is accessing an unsecured WIFI in Malaysia an offence? I don’t recall seeing any cases of this kind in Malaysia. The nearest offence we could get is Section 3 of the Computer Crimes Act 1997 which provides as follows:

3. Unauthorised to access to computer material.

(1) A person shall be guilty of an offence if-

(a) he causes a computer to perform any function with intent to secure access to any program or data held in any computer;

(b) the access he intends to secure is unauthorised; and

(c) he knows at the time when he causes the computer to perform the function that that is the case.

Under Section 3, there must be intent to secure access to any program or data held in any computer. So what is the program or data that has been accessed by a “piggybacker”? Arguably, the “piggybacker” has accessed the program that runs the WLAN device and has downloaded data from the WLAN device. The WLAN device is the medium that transmits data and downloads data from the internet. The “piggybacker” then uses his PC/laptop/phone to surf the net using the WLAN connection. Therefore, arguably, data has been downloaded into the “piggybacker’s” PC/laptop/phone .

In Singapore, numerous people had been charged under the Singapore Computer Misuse Act 1993 (which is very similiar with our Computer Crimes Act 1997) for “piggybacking”. With this, I am of the view that piggybacking is an offence under the Computer Crimes Act 1997. Nevertheless, I think there is a counter argument for this. If anyone has any, please share and no names calling please.

But of course, just like running the red light, you’ll get into trouble if someone catches you doing so. Surf wisely people!

p/s on another note, Messrs Richard Wee Lopez is starting a series of postings regarding cyber crime. Check out their first entry here. If anyone of you here gets arrested for cybercrime, you know how to call.

Related Link
Wikipedia – Legality of piggybacking