The Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA) has urged local and foreign digital platform operators in Thailand to quickly provide information mandated by the digital platform service (DPS) law, as the Nov 18 deadline approaches.
The state agency recently released a list of digital platform operators that have provided the required information.
ETDA requested platform operators that have yet to do so quickly comply before the deadline.
Q: What is the DPS law?
The law, which is meant to regulate digital platforms, took effect on Aug 21, intended to transparently govern operators and promote consumer protection.
The law obliges platform operators seeking to do business in Thailand to provide details to ETDA before they can start operating. Existing operators have until Nov 18 to provide the information.
Failure to provide the information by the deadline can result in a prison term of up to one year, or a fine of up to 100,000 baht, or both.
Q: Which operators have to provide information?
Both new and existing local and foreign platform operators are required to provide the information.
Individuals who operate online with revenue of more than 1.8 million baht per year before expenses and juristic entities with revenue of more than 50 million baht per year before expenses are also subject to the law.
The law also applies to individuals and juristic entities with more than 5,000 service users per month.
According to ETDA, the definition of a digital platform under the law includes not only platforms acting as a medium for buying or selling, but also covers the following platforms: online marketplaces; sharing economy platforms such as ride sharing, car sharing, knowledge sharing, labour sharing and space sharing (excluding hotels); online communication, including those supporting trading activities; social media and social commerce; advertising services, including ad networks and ad exchanges that match online ad spaces to ad buyers; audio-visual and music sharing platforms; search tools; news aggregators; online maps; web browsers; virtual assistants; operating system services such as software used in offices; hosting services; cloud services; internet service providers, including overseas-based providers operating in Thailand.
The agency made available a digital platform assessment tool (https://eservice.etda.or.th/dps-assessment) for operators to determine if they are subject to the DPS law. After operators answer some simple questions, the system notifies them if their businesses are subject to the law.
Operators can provide the required information at https://eservice.etda.or.th/dps/th/login, which is ETDA's digital platform service business notification system.
The agency held a workshop on Oct 17 for law firms and legal consultants to brief them on the DPS law, enabling participants to provide consultation to platforms.
Q: What type of information is required?
The required information includes details of the operators, ID cards or juristic IDs, contact channels, information on their digital platforms and revenue before expenses.
Operators must also include information on their service users, if they have such information, and their top five customer complaint cases.
In addition, the information must include details of their coordinators in Thailand if they operate overseas, as well as consent for ETDA to access such information.
Q: How many platforms have provided information thus far?
Between Aug 21 and Oct 10, 109 platforms provided information to the agency. Most of these were e-marketplace operators, followed by communication platforms, news aggregators, search tools, web browsers, cloud services, virtual assistants and advertising services.
According to ETDA executive director Chaichana Mitrpant, such information will enhance consumer confidence in the platforms, improve their competitiveness and show that consumers will be effectively protected.
He said he believes more platform operators will provide their information to the state agency.
In a related matter, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) is quickly drafting a regulatory framework to govern over-the-top (OTT) platforms operating in Thailand, especially video-on-demand and video-sharing businesses.
The move is another state effort to ensure domestic and global OTT platforms provide the regulator with their business details, paving the way for the NBTC to regulate the OTT industry in the future.
OTT services allow users to access media content and communication services over the internet.
Prawit Leesathapornwongsa, advisor to NBTC commissioner Pirongrong Ramasoota, said the NBTC and ETDA have discussed the issue at the management level. However, the boards of both state agencies have yet to discuss this issue.
ETDA hopes the NBTC will issue a regulatory framework governing video-on-demand and video-sharing platforms by requesting they provide their details to the regulator, Mr Prawit said.
Under this framework, OTT platforms that provide the NBTC with their business details will be permitted to operate in Thailand, though this does not amount to licensing.
The NBTC licensing regime applies to licensees in which the foreign shareholding stake does not exceed 25%.
He said the NBTC would govern both domestic and foreign OTT platforms on an equal and fair basis via the legal broadcasting scheme.
The NBTC working committee headed by Mrs Pirongrong drafted the regulatory framework and submitted it to the NBTC board.