Does background screening violate my privacy rights? Separate fact from fiction | Background Screening Malaysia

Background Screening

As a potential employee or tenant, you squirm thinking about how much a future employer or landlord can dig up about you. Even if your records are clear, you still worry – how is my personal information going to be used against me? What are my rights?


Don’t let misinformation and irrational fear overwhelm you, here are things you need to know as a person being screened:


There’s only so much that can be dug up about you

Background screening is not a perpetually switched on CCTV that’s out to get you at every mis-step.


An employer or landlord is basically interested in a limited scope of data about you, particularly, ones that affect them directly. They’re not out to dig into every aspect of your deepest darkest secrets. Bearing this in mind, you can approach screening feeling more in control of the situation.


Data that they’re interested in are those relating to your civil records, educational background, litigation or criminal records, past employment verification, or any red flags surfacing on your social media activity. They just want to know if you’ll be a good employee or tenant. 


PDPA is here to save the day

The Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) 2010 regulates how your personal data can be acquired, processed or used. Here are highlights that ought to make you feel more assured:


  • You cannot process someone’s data without their consent, and even so, the processing must be directly related to the purpose, without being excessive. A potential landlord, for example, has no business requesting your medical records as it would be deemed excessive as it is not relevant to tenancy. 
  • Data categorized as sensitive personal data ie. information on mental health, political opinions, religious beliefs or other beliefs of similar nature, are off-limits unless you yourself choose to reveal them.
  • Breaching the PDPA can result in a fine or imprisonment or both.


At any time you are unsure about your rights, refer to the PDPA. It is specially created to protect you.


You will not be caught off guard

We’ve briefly touched on this, but it should help you feel more in control by knowing that people conducting a background screen on you must have your consent through written notice.


In fact, the entity processing your data needs to reveal what data they have on you and what they will be using it for. 


There are some screenings that can be done without your consent, but the information gathered is only from what is already available publicly. Below is an example of the Verity report:



PDPA was specifically created by our Government lawmakers as a mechanism to ensure that personal data is protected.  


It is also a mechanism to keep you on track with representing yourself with honesty and integrity.


But, if you have falsely beefed up any aspects of your resume or had a fall-out in the previous company that got you fired, don’t wait to be discovered.


Coming clean allows you to talk about the situation beforehand and for both you and your potential employer to explore if the opportunity is still a mutual fit, in spite of it all. Taking steps to rectify your transgressions, and having a credible source to support your efforts, can potentially reverse how you are seen depending on the issue.


Verity offers a range of screening services ranging from self-check to caregiver screening reports. To find out more, check out https://www.verityplusonline.com/


At Verity Intelligence, our entire process complies with the Malaysian Personal Data Protection Act as we are very serious about regulatory compliance and respecting the privacy of individuals. The information we obtain, screen or verify from is also publicly and legally available.

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