Youths detained for DDoS attacks in protest against new Computer Crime Act

The Thai authorities have detained youths who allegedly carried out DDoS attacks against government websites in protest against the controversial new Computer Crime Act.  

On 21 December 2016, Somsak Khaosuwan, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (MDES), revealed that the police have detained youths who were allegedly involved in carrying out Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks on the websites of ministries and state agencies.

The attacks were carried out in protest against the new Computer Crime Act, which the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) recently passed.

The attacks knocked out several websites, including the Police Region 1 Training Centre, the Thai Government, the Royal Gazette, the Ministry of Defence and the Royal Thai Navy . Most of the websites are now back online though some remain unavailable.

Somsak said that the authorities will not press charge against the youths, but will lecture them before releasing them.

On the same day, Pichet Durongkaveroj, Minister of Digital Economy and Society, told the media that the new Computer Crime Act is best suited to the current digital development of the country, Thai PBS reported.

The law is necessary for the sustainable development of the country’s digital economy, said Pichet.

According to the Thai Netizen Network (TNN), a civil society organisation promoting internet freedom, the law increases the scope of state censorship and threatens online privacy as it greatly shortens the process blocking internet content.

Under Article 20 of the new bill, the authorities will establish a centre to block or delete online content, TNN pointed out.

Article 14 of the new law sets a penalty of up to five years in prison for spreading false computer data or information which could threaten national security, public infrastructure and morale; this is broad enough to criminalise any dissenting or critical idea posted online on platforms like Facebook comments.