The Thai military government has set its eye on issuing a new law on internet security and amending the notorious 2007 Computer Crime Act (CCA).
There have been ongoing attempts by both civil society and the government to amend the CCA since its enactment.
Civil society organizations, such as the Thai Netizen Network, have long condemned Articles 14 and 15 of the CCA. Article 14 holds computer users liable for any content they import into a computer system, while Article 15 holds internet service providers at all levels liable for content published on them.
Chiranuch Premchaiporn was sentenced to a year in prison, which was then reduced to an 8-month suspended sentence because she deleted comments by Prachatai web forums users “too late”, as determined by the court.
The latest draft CCA amendment and the Cyber Security Bill have yet to be revealed to the public.
The government is also contemplating a National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) Bill to restructure the function of the NBTC .
The bills will be discussed in cabinet on Tuesday.
Recently, the NBTC and Special Branch Police (SBP), the police division responsible for crimes related to national security, agreed during a meeting last week to give power to ISPs to block lèse majesté websites.
Since the coup d’état in May 2014, most lèse majesté cases were allegedly committed online. Besides being charged under Article 112 of the Criminal Crime Code, suspects who post lèse majesté content on the internet are usually also charged under Article 14 of the CCA for importing illegal content into a computer system.
Viewing the rise of lèse majesté cases with alarm since it is perceived as a national security concern, Prayut Chan-o-cha, the junta leader, pressed the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) to intensify the crackdown on lease majesté websites.