The Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA) unveiled the plan to reform the country’s computer crime law which is expected to be announced by the next three years.
ETDA CEO Surangkana Wayuparb said the agency is preparing a public hearing, hoping to attract widespread participation in the revision of the law that has been used for five years since its first implementation.
According to her, the reform and public participation are expected to bring balance between rights and freedom to the new law.
People are concerned about the balance between freedom of speech and the exercise of authority to keep the right to privacy. This has pointed to the problem that the current law cannot cope with cyber-crime and the cyber-environment, she added.
"Thai people generally still do not have awareness [of cyber-crime issues] or realise the need for information security, which is a new phenomenon. Meanwhile, other countries’ governments have better realisation and awareness on information security, which is a sensitive issue involving a balance between security and the liberty of people as a whole,” said Surangkana.
The draft revision is expected to be completed in the next six months, and the ETDA will conduct a public hearing afterwards before seeking the cabinet’s approval.
According to Wayuparb, the agency had conducted focus groups to address five key areas: freedom of speech; law enforcement; consumers and victims; hard-core security versus professional security; and evaluation and revision of computer crime law. The research aimed to balance and develop the law to protect against threats, the country, and all those in the cyber-security environment.
Moreover, the new law will heighten the level of cyber-security awareness in the country and the region. The National Cyber Security Committee has been set up to cope with increasing major threats such as hacking.
The CEO expressed concern over the lack of understanding in information security among Thai organisations, compared to their regional peers.
"There is a need to invest in this area,” she said. “The agency has developed a lab to provide knowledge to the police to improve their understanding of digital evidence and solve the problem of law enforcement.”
The overall revision of computer crime law is expected to take three years, and will involve the development of best practice and a code of conduct to encourage the law’s use against new threats and cyber-crime from the Internet in order to create the right balance between public liberty and the right to protection and privacy, she added.
For example, it will cover the rights of Internet users, especially students that develop their own blogs and websites to disclose private information, a practice that is open to abuse and often very dangerous in the online environment.
The agency will therefore announce an authentication framework to reduce risks for users and protect them by asking them to provide their ID number when entering a public domain on the Internet.
The ETDA was established as an academic agency with the key mission to enhance the value of electronic transactions and promoting the development of technology laws as a tool to drive the economy and to improve people’s quality of life.
Thailand has three laws - the computer crime law, the e-transaction law and the data protection law - related to information technology and cyber security.
They are variously under amendment and/or subject to approval for implementation and enforcement.