Thailand to Crack Down on Cyber Security, Raising Privacy Fears

Thailand to Crack Down on Cyber Security, Raising Privacy Fears

The military government in Thailand has increased discipline on internet dissent since taking power of the country in 2014. It is now forging ahead with a number of bills related to cyber security that rights groups believe could lead to even more internet monitoring, causing concerns over protection of privacy.

Proposed changes to Thailand’s 2007 Computer Crime Act, which parliament will give consideration to in December, will according to critics give sweeping powers to state officials that will enable them to restrict freedom of speech online and spy on web users.

Critics believe that the amendments will be passed by parliament after lawmakers were unanimous in voting in favour of the bill in the first reading.

The cyber law amendments, recently seen by Reuters, have pro-democracy activists concerned that civilians could be subject to arbitrary privacy invasion without a warrant from the courts.

An expert in data privacy from Bangkok’s Saint John’s University, Kanathip Thongraweewong, said:

“These laws are aimed at controlling online media, accessing personal data, and when the Cyber Security bill is passed, mass surveillance is a real threat.”

The threat of cyber crime poses a double-edged sword for governments around the world as there is clearly a need to combat cyber criminals, while at the same time, individuals understandably do not like their privacy threatened. Individual businesses also need to crack down, but fortunately for them, they are in a position to do so without such sacrifices They do need to review their IT security recruitment activities, however, if they care about protecting their own data.

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