News Thailand 2021 updates: Thai Cybercrime nabbed Facebook suspects selling weed online
In 2016, Human Rights Watch said today that Thailand’s new Computer-Related Crime Act (CCA) gives the government overbearingly broad powers to regulate free speech, restrict surveillance and censorship, and respond with force against activists. Thai Cybercrime nabbed facebook suspects selling weed and citing concerns of civil society, business, and diplomatic representatives. The junta-appointed National Legislative Assembly unanimously approved the hotly debated law on December 16, 2016.
As mentioned, “The adoption of the Computer-Related Crime Act significantly tightens the chokehold on online expression in Thailand,” said Asia director Brad Adams. Mr. Adams said, “A large number of activists prosecution for exercising their right to free expression online since the May 2014 coup, and these new amendments will make it even easier for the junta to punish its critics.”
The Thai Cybercrime Law
Before the excerpt from the Cybercrime Law, more than 300,000 people signed an appeal urging the National Legislative Assembly to reject the controversial amendments, which they saw as violations of Internet privacy and freedom of expression.
Thailand has the mandate to safeguard human rights, but it is doing the opposite. Human Rights Watch has repeatedly expressed concern that Thai authorities, private companies, and individuals frequently file libel suits against those who report alleged human rights violations, accusing activists and victims of committing perjury.
Since its May 2014 coup, the governing National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) junta has made arrests and charges numerous critics with computer crimes under the old 2007 CCA for posting commentary on Facebook and other social media platforms alleging junta leaders’ corruption. Articles 14(1) and (2) of the new law allow the government to prosecute anything it deems to be “false” or, in the case of article 14(1), “distorted” information, terms that are likely to be abused, as demonstrations from the previous prosecutions.
Because of the broad grounds for offenses “likely to cause damage to the public” under article 14, including “false or partially false” data, “distorted or partially distorted” data, or data likely to “cause public panic” or harm “maintenance of national security, public safety, national economic security, public infrastructure,” the new CCA is also likely to increase censorship. Following government notification, service providers such as social media platforms and access providers will be required to delete or otherwise prevent the availability of such content, or they will face penalties.
Thai Cybercrime Law nabbing suspects selling weed online
Currently, Thailand’s cybercrime authorities found 76 kilograms of marijuana and have made arrests on two Thai men for allegedly selling marijuana. According to officials, the suspects used Facebook to engage with consumers and sent out the weed via the delivery service Kerry Express.
The suspects were identified as Natthapong, 43, and his alleged accomplice, Peerapong, 25. According to police, buyers communicated with the men via Facebook Messenger and transferred money to a bank account. The cannabis was then packaged and shipped from a Kerry company in Bangkok’s southwestern district of Bang Bon.
Police discovered a total of 9 kilograms of cannabis in ready-to-ship parcels. Officers searched the house and discovery an additional 67 kilograms of cannabis.
Cannabis containing the psychoactive component tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is still illegal and classified as a Category 5 drug under Thailand’s Narcotics Act.
Rules and regulations announced
What’s more, new regulations of Articles 16/1 and 16/2 state that the court may order data which are found to be false and which have been deleted from the Internet. In addition, it will also be deleted by computer systems and which caused damage to other persons or the public.
While these articles are randomly implemented, the ramifications will be disastrous for research and monitoring on contentious topics of public concern. Such as incidents related to serious state-sponsored rights violations, such as the 2003 “drugs war,” the 2010 violent political conflicts, and abusive counterterrorism ops in the southern border areas.
Under amendment bill Article 20(3) of the CCA, even online content that is not illegal may be banned and the court may declare the content infringing on the law of the public or good morals. Basing on a request by a computer data monitoring committee appointed by a Digital Economy and Society Minister.
Human rights violations and critics
There are troubling consequences for human-rights reporting for the precedent of interpretations by authorities that are not judicial or executive independent. In the wake of the coup d’état in May 2014. Lastly, the authorities have made some blockages at the Thailand Human Rights Watch web page was whereas they provide useful information but are unsuitable for the above authorities.
On 15 December, when Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-ocha gave a press interview to the government that emphasized that authorities need a tool to take action against content that would be extremely crucial and objectionable for the monarchy.
The current regime was keen to use the new law to eliminate critics. In Thailand, a grave criminal offense is critiquing the royal family. Convictions of the lese majeste (insult to the monarchy) in the majority of cases lead to harsh convictions. The Thai authorities have made accusations to at least 68 lese majeste since the coup in May 2014, mainly for posting or sharing Facebook posts.
Approaches and schemes
Following the new CCA amendments, the protection of online communication is also severely at risk. The amendments expand the collection of information and other investigative powers under the Act, allowing its use in all offenses under other laws involving the use in the performance of the offense of network systems, computer data, and devices. In unidentified specific cases, service providers may be required to retain user data for up to two years, an increase of up to one year compared with prior requirements.
New articles 18(2) and (3) still allow the authority to have access without a tribunal order to assist in investigating an offense under the CCA or other laws to “traffic data” and other user-related data. In addition Article 18(7) allows the courts to oblige service providers to assist in decrypting encoded data with a judgment raising concern that the legislation may undermine the utilization of cybersecurity and privacy-protecting encryption tools.
The government’s approach to CCA criticism has been increasingly aggressive. The Speaker of the Prime Minister’s Office, Lt. Gen. Sansern Kaewkamnerd, announced on Dec. 18 the prosecution for public unrest of people participating in any form of protest against the CCA. The Army Cyber Center warned, two days earlier, that posting or sharing online comments criticizing the CCA can be seen as erroneous and resulting in prosecution.