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Stop threatening social network users, police told

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The head of the Ministry of Information unit which drafted and amended the Computer-Related Crime Act says police do not have unlimited powers to monitor what people say on popular social network apps like Facebook and Line.

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Critics say the popular smartphone app Line is not open to Thai police trying to track down lawbreakers.

Stop threatening social network users, police told

Pol Maj Gen Pisit Paoin from the Technology Crime Suppression Division has unveiled a plan to keep tabs on Line app users who pose a potential threat to national security. KITTI WORARANCHAI

Social media users are breathing a little easier now that Surangkana Wayuparb is on their side.

Ms Surangkana is the head of the Ministry of Information unit which drafted and amended the Computer-Related Crime Act, the law governing what can and cannot be done over the internet.

Under this law, Ms Surangkana said, police do not have unlimited rights to monitor what you say through social networks like Line and Facebook.

Earlier this week, it sounded like that was exactly what police were intending to do.

It all began when Pol Maj Gen Pisit Paoin, commander of the Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD), told reporters on Tuesday that some social network users were threatening national security by spreading unfounded umours and carrying out criminal activities.

"I've noticed that more criminal offences are being committed through social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Line," Pol Maj Gen Pisit told the reporters.

A Line message warns about the Technology Crime Suppression Division's plan to monitor people using the smartphone app. PATIPAT JANTHONG

He said he was particularly concerned about recent rumours about an impending coup. He called on Facebook users not to share or click "like" on such messages. If a false coup message got 20,000 or 30,000 likes and was shared widely, people might believe it, he warned.

The authorities would look into people who clicked “like” and shared such messages, he said.

Pol Maj Gen Pisit said his officers were taking a special interest in users of the popular Line application, a smartphone app which allows users to make free voice calls and send free emails and instant messages.

As of July 21, up to 15 million users in Thailand had signed up for the Line service.

Pol Maj Gen Pisit said he will travel to Japan on Aug 16 to discuss further cooperation with Line Corp executives. The TCSD team went to Japan from Aug 5-9 to seek cooperation from the developer.

According to Ms Surangkana, however, any attempt to monitor social network messages requires permission from a court of law.

Paiboon Amonpinyokeat, founder of law firm P&P Co, went further, saying monitoring people's social network messages would violate Section 8 of the act, which prohibits the illegal interception of data.

Adapted from a story by Suchit Leesa-nguansuk in today’s Bangkok Post.

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Vocabulary:

Act : a law passed by a country’s government - พ.ร.บ. พระราชบัญญัติ

amend : to make changes to a document, law, agreement, etc. especially in order to improve it - แก้ไข

application (app) : a program designed to do a particular job; a piece of software - โปรแกรมใช้งาน, โปรแกรมคอมพิวเตอร์

authorities : people who have the power to make decisions or enforce the law - เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ

commander : a police offer of high rank - ผู้บังคับบัญชา

commit : to do something wrong or illegal - ทำความผิด

concerned : worried about something   - มีความกังวล

cooperation : working together to achieve a result that will benefit all sides - ความร่วมมือ, การทำงานร่วมกัน

coup d’etat : the seizure of power in a country by a group of people, usually members of the armed forces - รัฐประหาร

crime : an illegal activity or action - อาชญากรรม

Crime Suppression Division (CSD) : a national police department responsible for conducting most of the technical investigations of criminal offenses - กองบังคับการปราบปราม

data : facts or information, especially when examined and used to find out things or to make decisions - ข้อมูล, ตัวเลข, สถิติ

developer (noun): software developer, a person who writes computer programs and apps as their job -

draft : to write a document, plan, etc. that may be changed before it is finally accepted - ร่าง

executive : a senior manager in a business or other organisation - ผู้บริหาร

firm : a business or company - บริษัท

govern : to control the way that things happen - ควบคุม, บังคับ, ครอบงำ

illegal : against the law - ผิดกฎหมาย, นอกกฎหมาย

impending : (usually of something unpleasant or unwanted) going to happen soon -

intend : to plan to do; to want to happen - ตั้งใจให้เกิดขึ้น, วางแผนไว้

interception (noun): to stop somebody/something that is going from one place to another - การดัก, การสกัด

monitor : to regularly check something or watch someone in order to find out what is happening - ตรวจสอบ ตรวจตรา

national security : the protection or the safety of a country’s secrets and its citizens - การรักษาความมั่นคงแห่ง่ชาติ

offence : a crime or illegal activity for which there is a punishment - การกระทำผิดกฎหมาย

particularly : especially, or more than usual - โดยเฉพาะ

permission : allowing someone to do something - การอนุญาต,การอนุมัติ,การยินยอม

prohibit : to not allow; to ban - ห้าม

recent : happening or starting a short time ago - เร็วๆ นี้

reporter : someone whose job is to write articles or make broadcasts about events in the news - ผู้สื่อข่าว, นักข่าว

rumour : a piece of information, or a story, that people talk about, but that may not be true - ข่าวลือ

social media : the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into an interactive dialogue, e.g., Facebook, Twitter, etc. - เครือข่ายสังคมออนไลน์

social network : websites or other services on the internet for communication with people who share your interests - เครือข่ายสังคม

spread : to (cause to) cover, reach or have an effect on a wider or increasing area or number of people - แพร่กระจาย, แพร่กระจายไปทั่ว

threaten : to put at risk; to put in danger - ทำให้ตกอยู่ในความเสี่ยง

unfounded : not supported with facts or evidence - ที่ไม่ได้ตั้งอยู่บนหลักเหตุผล

unit : a part of a company or organisation that carries out a particular function; a group of people who work or live together, especially for a particular purpose - หน่วย,กอง,กลุ่ม

unlimited (adj.): as much or as many as is possible; not limited in any way - โดยไม่จำกัด, ไร้ขีดจำกัด, ซึ่งไม่มีขอบเขต

violate : to do something that is against a law, rule or agreement - ฝ่าฝืน, ละเมิด

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