New minister ponders delay of Personal Data Protection Act
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New minister ponders delay of Personal Data Protection Act

New Digital Economy and Society (DES) Minister Chaiwut Thanakhamanusorn is considering whether to postpone the full enforcement of the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) slated for this June to help unprepared small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that could be affected by the legislation.

"If the public has negative views about the PDPA, which takes effect in two months, the ministry may consider deferring or amending it," said Mr Chaiwut.

He said this after delivering policy to officers at the ministry yesterday.

Mr Chaiwut also acknowledged a delay in the appointment of members to the Personal Data Protection Committee, a crucial body in approving subsidiary legislation.

A DES Ministry source who requested anonymity said full enforcement of the PDPA is likely to be deferred until the end of this year.

Putchapong Nodthaisong, deputy permanent secretary for the DES Ministry, said 4-5 associations, including in the travel and automotive sectors, are seeking the deferral of the PDPA's enforcement.

"SMEs are our concern as they lack readiness," he said.

"Some ill-intentioned people may explore legal loopholes to abuse businesses for personal gain and this could cause a broad impact."

Mr Putchapong said subsidiary legislation regarding consent procedures, complaint reception and expert panels have been drafted and require approval by the Personal Data Protection Committee.

The PDPA was published in the Royal Gazette in May 2019, but a one-year grace period was allowed for stakeholders to adjust.

In May 2020, the cabinet agreed to postpone the enforcement of most chapters of the PDPA by another year to give the public and private sectors time to prepare their internal processes and ease the financial burden shouldered during the pandemic.

In related news, Mr Chaiwut said his administration will treat national digital ID, 5G, government cloud and fake news suppression as key priorities.

Five core frameworks will be pursued, he said.

First, the ministry will support people's access to innovation and technology.

Another effort is to create an ecosystem conducive to a digital economy, said Mr Chaiwut.

Third, the ministry wants to gear up for digital infrastructure development, particularly 5G and smart city projects.

The government has approved 5G-based pilot projects worth 500 million baht in total for next year for use case development in various sectors, such as farming, manufacturing and education.

Fourth, legal development and enforcement are priorities to create a trusted digital ecosystem, particularly for the PDPA and issues connected to electronic transactions and cybersecurity, he said.

The fifth concerns efforts to safeguard the public from abuse on social media and the internet.

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