Thailand told to shore up online safety

Law delayed for almost a decade

Thailand is in urgent need of a data protection law to prevent misuse of personal information, says two non-profit online data protection organisations.

SafeGov.org in the US and the Thai Netizen Network maintain that breaches of data privacy, particularly among students, continue to pose a major threat to the country's online industries.

Microsoft and Google are gearing up to promote their education cloud services to Thai students in the areas of free email and space for online documents.

At least 60 institutes of higher education in Thailand are using these free services.

Jeff Gould, the president of SafeGov.org, said the power of computing and analytics has enabled the integration of data mining into computer systems, particularly through cloud computing.

Currently, cloud service providers offering free public email could sell users' data to other companies for advertising or sales purposes, he said.

Governments in Europe and Australia have already introduced regulations protecting children's data, while the US is in the process of amending its data protection regulations.

A SafeGov.org survey showed up to 90% of parents strongly disagree with data mining in education could services.

"We do not oppose the use of education cloud services. But there is a need for the Thai government to help protect children's data in the cloud," said Mr Gould.

Nakorn Serirak, a policy adviser to Thai Netizen, said the network will propose guidelines regarding online data protection in the area of education to the Information and Communication Technology Ministry this year in order to close existing loopholes.

He urged the government to accelerate enactment of a data protection law after it has been delayed for almost a decade.

About the author

columnist
Writer: Suchit Leesa-nguansuk
Position: Senior Reporter