Thailand’s DES minister vows to combat online scams

Prasert Chanthararuangthong, Image courtesy of Thai News Room

Newly appointed Digital Economy and Society (DES) Minister, Prasert Chanthararuangthong, pledged to prioritise the suppression of online fraud and call centre scams. As part of the Pheu Thai Party‘s commitments, the DES ministry is also expected to cooperate with related agencies to roll out a digital wallet scheme by 2024, with an initial rollout anticipated for early next year.

The scheme involves a digital handout of 10,000 baht to every Thai aged 16 and over, to be disbursed via smartphone. Prasert will also focus on continuing state projects like the e-government project and big data analytics project, critical to Thailand’s digital economy.

The new minister has acknowledged the importance of an advisory and support team and plans to commence work at the ministry on Thursday. Despite not being a computer programmer or possessing specific information and communications technology (ICT) skills, Prasert is committed to excelling in his ministerial role by collaborating with the advisory team, the ministry’s existing management, and relevant officials.

In response to concerns from ICT industry veterans about his suitability for the role, Prasert highlighted his extensive experience in management across business, state agencies, and politics. He has been elected as a member of parliament in six general elections.

Prasert acknowledges that online fraud and call centre scams significantly impact people’s lives and pledged to tackle these issues head-on. Empowered by the recently enacted Cyber Crime Prevention and Suppression Law, victims, banks, and authorities now have more avenues to combat online scams and other unlawful online activities.

The law enables victims of online scams to immediately apply for the suspension of a “mule” account created using their stolen identity, file scam complaints with police stations, and use artificial intelligence technology to investigate illicit transactions. Those found guilty of illegal activities involving accounts, electronic cards or electronic wallets, or allowing others to use their SIM card for unlawful purposes, could face imprisonment of 2-5 years and/or a fine of 200,000-500,000 baht.

Prasert also highlighted that the ministry has several important tasks to execute, including the implementation of regulatory schemes like the current Personal Data Protection Act and the development of new innovations. An example of this is the centralised cloud for public health, referred to as the national digital health platform.

The Digital Government Development Agency (DGA) has previously stated its goal for Thailand’s e-Government Development Index to be ranked 40th globally by 2027, a significant leap from its current 53rd position. This is part of the plan to drive Thailand’s development via AI technology, in line with the second draft of the Digital e-Government Development Plan of Thailand for 2023-2027.

To this end, the DGA aims to promote digital transformation in 400 local administrative organisations by the end of the year through the adoption of a web-based platform, a significant increase from the current 56 organisations that have undergone digital transformation, reported Bangkok Post.

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Alex Morgan

Alex is a 42-year-old former corporate executive and business consultant with a degree in business administration. Boasting over 15 years of experience working in various industries, including technology, finance, and marketing, Alex has acquired in-depth knowledge about business strategies, management principles, and market trends. In recent years, Alex has transitioned into writing business articles and providing expert commentary on business-related issues. Fluent in English and proficient in data analysis, Alex strives to deliver well-researched and insightful content to readers, combining practical experience with a keen analytical eye to offer valuable perspectives on the ever-evolving business landscape.

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