Woman feared prison if she took photos of burglary due to new PDPA law

A Thai woman witnessed thieves break into a neighbour’s house but didn’t take any pictures of the burglars for fear of going to prison under the new Personal Data Protection Act.

The 23 year old admitted she was too scared to take photos of the criminals’ faces because she was afraid of being sued under the new PDPA law which came into effect yesterday.

The woman, called Wipaporn, revealed she heard and then saw two men enter a rental house in the Meung district of Rayong in the early hours of Tuesday, May 31. She bravely approached the men to confirm fears they were breaking in and had a matter-of-fact casual chat with them before returning to her home.

Wipapron revealed the thieves then fled the scene on a motorbike soon after their chat when other residents nearby became aware of the break in.

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She secretly took pictures of the thieves’ legs and motorbike registration plate, and posted the pictures in a Facebook group to warn others in her neighbourhood of the danger the pair posed. The story and photos then went viral.

Wipaporn says she didn’t file a complaint with the police because the thieves did not steal anything, and added “I was scared the thieves might sue me for taking pictures of their faces due to the new PDPA.”

The incident aroused the curiosity of netizens who believe grey areas still exist in the new PDPA law in regards to sharing images and videos of people, and installing security cameras.

Only yesterday the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking highlighted these grey areas and asked the government to delay the bill as some of the PDPA laws remain vague and needed to be clarified.

The Digital Economy and Society Minister, Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn, yesterday explained the law encourages a safety standard for personal data like names, addresses, phone numbers, financial information, and sensitive personal data like race, political opinion, and sexual preferences. Every business had to store and use this data according to the consent given by its data subjects.

The minister insisted that there was nothing to worry about because the objective of the act was to take care of people and their data. The act didn’t mean to defame or threaten anyone. Uploading pictures to social media platforms that accidentally included others isn’t wrong if the person posting those images didn’t aim to insult those persons. He also added that security cameras could be installed legally if people did it for their security.

The penalty the improper use of data carries a fine of up to 5 million baht and a maximum jail term of one year.

SOURCE: Sanook | Thairath | Ministry of Digital Economy and Society




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Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger who focuses on translating breakingThai news stories into English. With a background in field journalism, Petch brings several years of experience to the English News desk at The Thaiger. Before joining The Thaiger, Petch worked as a content writer for several known blogging sites in Bangkok, including Happio and The Smart Local. Her articles have been syndicated by many big publishers in Thailand and internationally, including the Daily Mail, The Sun and the Bangkok Post. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp! But during office hours, you can find Petch on LinkedIn and you can reach her by email at petch@thethaiger.com.

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