Data protection penalties eased

Data protection penalties eased

Regulations aimed at relaxing enforcement of the penalties under the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) are expected to come into force next week, says Digital Economy and Society Minister Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn.

The easing is meant to spare violators who did not intentionally break the law during the transitional period, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and community enterprises.

Of the four regulations expected to be implemented next week, one is aimed at exempting SMEs from compliance with the PDPA's practices on the recording of processing activities, and another is intended to relax the enforcement of the punishment.

The other two concern methods of making and recording processing activities involving personal data and security measures for personal data protection.

The four regulations were approved by the Personal Data Protection Committee (PDPC) last week, pending publication in the Royal Gazette, which is expected to take place next week, Mr Chaiwut said.

According to the minister, another four subordinate laws are expected to be enforced later this month.

"The government has emphasised the PDPA is not aimed at creating a burden for SMEs and community enterprises, but is intended to benefit people and ensure relevant parties shoulder the least burden for compliance," said Mr Chaiwut.

He said entrepreneurs who are careful in dealing with their customers' information should not be worried about penalties under the PDPA.

In terms of policies and operating guidelines, the office of the PDPC wants to ensure parties understand the rules and is promoting early adoption of the policies, as well as relaxing penalties.

Mr Chaiwut warned those who wish to exploit the PDPA they could face a legal backlash. He said civil and criminal cases are handled by the courts, which make judgments based on facts and evidence.

The PDPA, which came into force on June 1, is meant to upgrade the country's personal data protection. The legislation states data controllers and processors who use personal data must receive consent from data owners and use it only for expressed purposes.

He said the PDPA will play a key role in supporting the digital-driven economy, through which the government projects digital-related business will generate 30% of GDP over the next five years.

The PDPA is among 12 digital-related laws the government wants in line with its digital economy transformation roadmap.

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