Thai authorities to add heavier penalties for online threats to national security

The Thai authorities plan to amend the current Computer Crime Act to counter online threats to national security.

According to Blognone, an IT news website, Suwapan Tanyuwattana, Minister of the Prime Minister's Office, told the press last week that the coordinating committee of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) had agreed to amend the 2007 Computer Crime Act.

The amendment is intended to add more severe penalties for computer crimes related to national security, said the Minister.   

“[The committee] has considered increasing the penalties in cases related to national security, especially the use of the internet which affects national security,” Blognone quoted Suwapan. “We want this law to be enacted as soon as possible. [We believe] that it will be up-to-date for the current circumstances.”

The amended version of the Computer Crime Act has not yet been revealed to the public. It will be sent to the cabinet and then the NLA for further consideration.

Since the 2014 coup d’état, many people accused under Article 112 of the Criminal Crime Code, the lèse majesté law, which is also considered a crime against national security, have been arrested for allegedly posting and sharing lèse majesté content online.

Earlier this year, the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) proposed to the cabinet a Cyber Security Bill, which was intended to offset online threats against Thailand’s electronic finance industry and national security.

The bill, however, was heavily criticised by civil society organisations, such as Thai Netizen Network, an NGO which promotes online privacy and internet access, as a national security bill in disguise.