PHUKET: The newly-amended Computer Crimes Act (No. 2) B.E. 2560 (2017) was put into effect this week, after it was published in the Royal Gazette on January 24. It replaces the Computer Crimes Act B.E. 2550 (2007).
One of the most talked about sections of the amended Act states that any person who sends computer data or electronic mail to another person without allowing that person a chance to easily opt out, to deny the reception or express intent to not receive the data or electronic mail (and such data or electronic mail is found to disturb the recipient) must be subject to a fine not exceeding 200,000 baht.
Additionally, entering false data into a computer system that could cause damage to the public, create panic, or cause harm to public infrastructure, national security, public security or economic security, is also henceforth illegal.
Any person who forwards the data described above knowingly and being aware of its potential damage will also be subject to the same penalties.
Briefly, some of the other salient features of the onerous Act are as follows:
1. Promoting products by commenting on people’s personal social media posts is considered as spam and the person responsible could be fined up to 200,000 baht.
2. Sending an SMS for advertising purposes without giving a choice to the receiver to accept or deny it is considered as spam. Sending unsolicited emails to sell products can also be considered as spam.
3. Clicking ‘Like’ on illegal data (for instance, anything that is considered illegal as per Article 112 concerning lese majeste) is also a punishable offense.
4. Sharing data that affects others negatively is considered illegal. For any post that insults or disturbs others, the offending party could face a maximum fine of 200,000 baht or 3 years imprisonment.
5. If you find something illegal on your computer, but it is not you who put it there, you must report the instance to ‘relevant officers’. If the relevant officers delete the data, you are in the clear.
6. If you are the administrator of a public page and you receive a comment deemed harmful or illegal under the law, you must delete the same.
7. Spreading or sharing pornographic content is prohibited.
8. You must blur the faces of children in any post that may be deemed harmful, unless the post is positive.
9. Any post that is deemed harmful, negative or likely to ruin the reputation of a deceased person is considered illegal. In such cases, relatives can file a complaint against the offending party.
10. It is illegal to share songs, pictures and videos protected against sharing by copyright. Sharing or forwarding other content is fine, except for the purpose of income or commerce.
Before the enactment, the bill was strongly opposed by many members of the public as well as civil society groups. Opponents said some clauses were ‘vague’ and might affect the rights and freedoms of the people.
More than 300,000 people signed a petition on the website change.org voicing their opposition to the bill when it entered the legislative chamber for its last reading late last year. Nevertheless, it was passed by the National Legislative Assembly.