Gen. Prayut defends controversial new cyber laws in Thailand

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PM Prayuth Chan-O-Cha has defended plans to introduce tough new cyber laws in Thailand.

The new laws will give authorities the right to access emails, telephone records, computer data and even postal mail without court approval.

Critics have expressed concerns that the new laws would give the government unprecedented access to personal and private information, with little or no judicial oversight.

The draft of the new laws, which form part of the National Cyber Security Bill, has alarmed Internet rights groups in Thailand.

However, Gen. Prayuth Chan-O-Cha, who was appointed prime minister following a military coup in May 2014, has said that the new cyber laws in Thailand are necessary to help protect the nation and will only be used on occasions when the authorities suspect Thailand’s national security is at risk.

On Tuesday the prime minister told reporters in Bangkok: “We need to have national security otherwise everybody does what they want,” reports AFP.

“If there is a threat to national security — a violation, or someone committing a crime — we need to empower state officials to investigate,” he said.

Gen. Prayuth then added that “the authorities must have a reason to obtain the information. It would violate someone’s human rights to intrude into personal data (without reason).”

The government is yet to publicly publish the proposed draft of the bill, however, the Thai Netizen Network, an Internet freedom group, managed to obtain a copy and publish it online (English language version available here).

Speaking to AFP, Thitima Urapeepathanapong, a spokesperson for the Thai Netizen Network said: “what I am concerned about is Section 35, which says there is no need to ask a court for a warrant. It will just be up to the authorities to decide.”

“It will destroy our rights and freedoms — when we know someone can watch our communications and chats, we will not feel safe.”

Yesterday, the government was forced to backtrack on its original proposals for Section 35, by admitting that parts of the draft needed to be amended.

The plans to introduce new cyber laws in Thailand have also come under fire from members of the press who have describe the laws as a “a clear and present danger to media freedoms”.

Source: AFP

Jonathan Fairfield
Jonathan is our Google Nexus and Android enthusiast. He is also fanatical about football which makes it all the more strange that he should support Stockport County. In addition to writing about tech, Jonathan has a passion for fitness and nutrition and has previously written for one the UK's leading watch and horology websites.
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10 Comments

  1. Let’s be honest here … these measures are design to suppress basic rights and despite Thailand being a signatory to the UN Convention on Human Rights they continue to abuse such at any given opportunity.

    This latest move is typical of a military junta and is design to suppress freedom of speech; back this up with the computer crimes legislation and now every activist or someone challenging their rule can be successfully silenced.

  2. ChrisWard99 on

    This is scary. Let’s hope the authorities do as the General says and only use this when needed.

    Let’s also be honest, the Thailand govt wont be the only ones snooping on its people. This kind of stuff will go on all over the world and is perhaps just a reflection of the age we live in.

    And it’s not enough to say “if you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to worry about” what peoples privacy rights?

  3. It is a pity Prayuth has no TV at home. He could have seen to what lengths dictators go to make their dangerous pipe dreams a reality) Auschwitz is such an example.

  4. Richard Mcallister on

    Yes true military control ..and slow down the net even more ..having blocked the English Daily Mail …may add a few more UK papers after articles on Kho Tao …
    Land of smiles. ..well and truly history ..

  5. this is the best news I’ve heard in a long time! If you give the government the facility to access everything and anything that personally belongs to others then you are also providing access for outside sources such as the NSA to also meddle in Thailand’s affairs. Good on you #Gen.PrayuthChan-O-Cha for taking the right path towards true democracy and not following what I think was being pushed by the US Inc.

  6. Pingback: Gen. Prayut defends controversial new cyber laws in Thailand | Jimsrant Blog

  7. There are a few alternatives private emails. The one I use is https://unseen.is/j.t/
    They have a free and a paid version (Life membership is not so expensive but the free version is correct too, though less space). They protect your privacy and have servers in Island, which is beyond reach Thai laws. There are also other email providers but this one is my fav.
    For everyone that are also tired of fb, their always changing privacy rules, them selling your personal data, and handing them to almost whoever has a bit of control, now there is https://www.seen.is/ They also are quite private since they are the social network of unseen. But you don’t need to have both. They are independant in use.
    If anyone knows more privacy tools, please share!