Thailand Passes a Controversial Cybersecurity Law Giving Huge Power to State Cyber Agencies

Despite growing concerns from activists over potential abuse of power, Thailand’s parliament passed a rigorous cybersecurity law that gave tremendous power to state-run cyber agencies.  Also referred to as “cyber martial law” by internet freedom activists, Thailand’s parliament passed this controversial law on February 28, 2019.

Cyber security

Passed unanimously in the Thai parliament, the Cybersecurity Act sets the stage for complete government control over the internet.

According to a report, business groups and civil liberty advocates are attacking this law, saying it poses a threat to privacy and the rule of law. In addition, internet companies are against this law.  

The implementation of this law is expected to stop Thailand from attracting foreign investments. No foreign company will be interested in running a business in Thailand once this law takes effect because it will increase the compliance burden on them.

According to a report, the managing director of the Asia Internet Coalition, Jeff Paine, said this new cybersecurity law would “give the regime sweeping powers to monitor online traffic in the name of an emergency or as a preventive measure, potentially compromising private and corporate data.”

In addition to the Cybersecurity Act, the Thai parliament has passed a law called the Personal Data Protection Act, regulating firms that gather data on individuals. These laws will take effect once Thailand’s king approves them. It’s also essential to publish these laws in the Royal Gazette before they take effect.

The Cybersecurity Act gives authority to the National Cybersecurity Committee that’s headed by Thailand’s military. The goal of this is to summon anyone for questioning even those without a court order if the threat in question is too dangerous.  

The representatives from the National Cybersecurity Committee can also enter private property without having an order from the court when dealing with cyber threats.

According to an AP report, this act gives full authority to state officials to seize and search computers and computer systems without court orders if a government-appointed committee finds it as a security threat.

Introduced in 2015, the first draft of the cybersecurity bill got rejected in the parliament due to the objections raised by the public. In addition, two more drafts of this bill were withdrawn from the parliament for the same reason.

Even after several modifications to the bill over the years, the fact that it gives the authority to state officials to summon an individual for questioning without court orders is still there. This is the most significant reason people are protesting this bill.

The government received severe criticism for passing this bill. The government defended itself  by stating that the bill is significant for protecting networks from cyber attacks.  The government also made its position clear by saying the law would not enable state surveillance.

The government ensured, that state officials won’t use the Cybersecurity Act to regulate social media and individuals’ personal computers.

Last but not least, similar to Thailand, Vietnam introduced new cybersecurity laws in January of this year, which were criticized by the public in the same way.

Article Provided by: Accume Partners

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Krysta Jackson

Krysta Jackson a writer, who writes enriching posts.Apart from writing informative posts on latest technologies, she also writes largely on fashion, health,lifestyle , travel and other leading blogging platform & loves to share her knowledge with others through blogging.