ARTICLE 19, an international NGO working to protect and promote free expression, has analysed Thailand’s draft of the Computer-Related Offences Commission Act and found it detrimental, especially in the following aspects:
- It establishes unduly broad prohibitions on accessing information over computer systems.
- The penalties, which extend to capital punishment, are far too heavy for the offences.
- Unduly broad limits on the sale of computer software are established, along with liability for anyone who sells the software, regardless of any complicity in a crime.
- Liability is extended to service providers, regardless of whether or not the material in question has been identified as illegal by a court.
- A crime of defamation for altering pictures of third parties is established.
- Broad enforcement powers are given to ‘competent officials’ to enforce these rules, largely without any judicial scrutiny.
ARTICLE 19 says although the draft law “already reflects the views of a number of internal government stakeholders, the serious implications . . . in terms of freedom of expression do not appear to have been taken into account”.
See ARTICLE 19’s full report.
The draft law has gone through the first reading in the junta-installed National Assembly and is now being reviewed by a 25-member panel before being returned for a second reading.