Proposed Thai cyber bill to be watered down


Thai legislators are due to amend the proposed cyber security bill, having said they will add a clause which requires authorities to obtain court approval before accessing Internet users’ personal information.


Cyber bill will be watered down

Surangkana Wayuparb, who is chief executive of the Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA), said on the weekend that the draft legislation was “rushed” and would grant the government excessive power.

The ETDA has responsibility for drafting 10 new laws as part of the Thai government’s digital economy policy.

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“We admit our mistakes, particularly Section 35 of the Cybersecurity Bill, as our working team had to rush to draft all 10 bills so we could enforce them before the next general election”, Mrs Surangkana said.

Thailand Cyber Bill

Section 35 is the controversial part which would allow the national cybersecurity committee to access anyone’s personal information through email, telegraph, fax and electronic devices to safeguard national security.

The controversial Cyber Bill was one of 8 digital economy bills which managed to receive cabinet backing early this month, besides two others which received preliminary approval last month. But it has since been subject to complaints from privacy activists who want a revision to prevent abuse of power.

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Mrs Surangkana has said that the Thai government was listening to the criticism and is willing to make changes.

“Currently, all 10 digital economy bills are under the scrutiny of the Council of State, and each piece of legislation needs four rounds of review before being submitted back to the cabinet again”, she said.

Mrs Surangkana has not stated yet when the amendment to Section 35 of the Cyber Bill will be made. “We want to ensure that the exercise of power will be balanced. The bills need to be rechecked to protect the rights of all citizens”, she said.

Apparently the Cyber Bill is intended to improve infrastructure to deal with hacking problems and is not designed to regulate content.

Thailand currently ranks third in the world for cyber security risk. Hackers have already used the country as a base for cyber attacks, such as the high-profile hack against Sony Pictures Entertainment.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post