The Amended Com­puter Crimes Act: Im­por­tant Changes for Busi­ness Op­er­a­tors

Thai-American Business (T-AB) Magazine - - Contents - Writ­ten by: Chusert Su­p­a­sit­thum­rong

The Act Gov­ern­ing Com­mis­sion of Of­fences Re­lat­ing to Com­put­ers ( gen­er­ally known as the Com­puter Crimes Act) was en­acted in 2007. Over the last decade, sev­eral high- pro­file cases have ap­peared in the me­dia, es­pe­cially when celebri­ties or mod­els lodged crim­i­nal charges un­der the Act. Its ap­pli­ca­tion in crim­i­nal defama­tion cases has also been the sub­ject of a lot of com­ment.

But the Com­puter Crimes Act is not only rel­e­vant to celebri­ties; it’s im­por­tant to all busi­nesses that use com­put­ers in their oper­a­tions. This ar­ti­cle dis­cusses how cer­tain re­cent amend­ments to the Com­puter Crimes Act that are now in force have im­por­tant im­pli­ca­tions for busi­ness own­ers in Thai­land.

Spam Emails: Un­der the amended Act, a busi­ness may face crim­i­nal pun­ish­ment if it sends com­puter data or emails that cause trou­ble or an­noy­ance to re­cip­i­ents without an op­tion to al­low the re­cip­i­ent to eas­ily can­cel, un­sub­scribe, or in­form the sender to cease send­ing fur­ther emails or com­puter data. The penalty for such ac­tions is a max­i­mum fine of Baht 200,000. From now on, if busi­ness op­er­a­tors send any emails or e- bul­letins to their cus­tomers and fail to pro­vide an easy way for re­cip­i­ents to can­cel or un­sub­scribe, the busi­ness op­er­a­tors will be crim­i­nally li­able if the emails or e- bul­letins are deemed to have caused trou­ble or an­noy­ance.

Greater Penal­ties for Hack­ers:

Busi­nesses that use com­puter sys­tems that in­volve na­tional se­cu­rity, pub­lic safety, na­tional eco­nomic se­cu­rity, or in­fra­struc­ture that con­cerns the pub­lic in­ter­est are now more pro­tected from hack­ers due to an in­crease in crim­i­nal penal­ties for of­fend­ers who use a com­puter in crimes against these sys­tems. Of­fend­ers will face more se­vere crim­i­nal penal­ties com­pared to of­fenses against a com­puter sys­tem used by nor­mal busi­ness own­ers, with fines from Baht 20,000 to Baht 140,000, and im­pris­on­ment from one year to seven years. More se­vere penal­ties may also be im­posed if the crime re­sults in dam­age or other im­pacts to pro­tected sys­tems, or if the crime un­in­ten­tion­ally re­sults in the death of a per­son.

False In­for­ma­tion: An of­fender who dis­hon­estly or de­ceit­fully brings false, dis­torted, or forged in­for­ma­tion or data into a com­puter sys­tem in such a way that is likely to cause dam­age to the pub­lic will face im­pris­on­ment not ex­ceed­ing three years or a fine not ex­ceed­ing Baht 60,000, or both. For the law to ap­ply to such an of­fense, it is not a defama­tion of­fense un­der the Pe­nal Code and must be tar­geted at an in­di­vid­ual. This of­fense is com­pound­able, which means both par­ties can set­tle.

Ser­vice Providers: Any ser­vice provider that co­op­er­ates with, con­sents to, or con­nives to cer­tain of­fenses un­der the amended Act, such as dis­hon­estly or de­ceit­fully bring­ing false, dis­torted, or forged in­for­ma­tion or data into a com­puter sys­tem un­der the ser­vice provider’s con­trol, will face crim­i­nal penal­ties. The Min­is­ter of Dig­i­tal Econ­omy and So­ci­ety has the author­ity to is­sue an an­nounce­ment to de­ter­mine the pro­cesses for is­su­ing a warn­ing, ter­mi­na­tion of the cir­cu­la­tion of the com­puter data, and re­moval of the com­puter data from the com­puter sys­tem. A ser­vice provider will be waived from crim­i­nal penal­ties if it can prove that it has com­plied with such an an­nounce­ment. Ex­panded Court Author­ity: Un­der the amended Act, the court has new author­ity per­tain­ing to com­put­ers and can or­der the de­struc­tion of data. The court can also pub­lish a judg­ment wholly or par­tially through elec­tronic me­dia, broad­cast ra­dio, broad­cast tele­vi­sion, news­pa­per, or other me­dia which it deems ap­pro­pri­ate. The court also has the author­ity to or­der other ac­tions deemed nec­es­sary to rem­edy in­jury aris­ing from an of­fense.

Set­tle­ment: Some of­fenses, such as the unau­tho­rized ac­cess of a com­puter sys­tem, dis­clo­sure of preven­tive mea­sures for ac­cess­ing a com­puter sys­tem, or bring­ing false in­for­ma­tion into com­puter sys­tem, can be set­tled by a com­mit­tee ap­pointed by the Min­is­ter.

Com­puter Data Screen­ing: The Min­is­ter has the author­ity to ap­point a com­puter data screen­ing panel, which may as­sign an of­fi­cer to re­quest that the court or­ders the ces­sa­tion of cir­cu­la­tion of com­puter data, or the dele­tion of com­puter data, when there is cir­cu­la­tion of com­puter data that con­sti­tutes a crime un­der the Act, af­fects the se­cu­rity of Thai­land, or con­flicts with peace and or­der, or good morals.

The amended Act also ad­dresses other im­por­tant is­sues, and busi­ness own­ers should there­fore be aware of po­ten­tial crim­i­nal im­pli­ca­tions when their busi­ness oper­a­tions in­volve com­puter data or a com­puter sys­tem.

Chusert Su­p­a­sit­thum­rong is a part­ner at Tilleke & Gib­bins. He can be con­tacted at chusert. s@ tilleke. com. This ar­ti­cle was first pub­lished in the Bangkok Post and is re­pro­duced with per­mis­sion of the au­thor.

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