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New immigration form: Privacy violation?

Information on foreigner in Thailand displayed on computer monitor at new Thai Immigration 24/7 Center.

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Immigration's request for intimate details of foreigner lives leads to complaints & worries about privacy & safety.


New immigration form: Privacy violation?

Post Reporters

Thailand's Immigration Bureau recently asked foreigners to provide detailed personal information such as bank account numbers, social media accounts and the places they typically go to and hang out at.

Immediately, they found themselves flooded with complaints by foreigners worried about their safety and privacy.


What's all the fuss?

First of all, privacy is arguably a bigger concern or issue in western countries (US, EU, Australia, etc) than it is in Asian countries.

Western countries have laws that protect their citizens' privacy and citizens are typically very upset when they encounter perceived violations of their privacy (see here, here & here).

So when the Thai Immigration Bureau recently started to ask for intimate details of their lives there was quite a strong negative reaction.


Is this issue really relevant to Thai people?

Tourism and export production at foreign-owned firms accounts for a big fraction of the Thai economy, GDP and jobs.

Every year many college graduates begin a career in the tourism sector or at a big multinational company along the Eastern Seaboard, especially those with advanced English skills.

To interact with foreigners as colleagues, coworkers or friends or to serve foreign customers or bosses better, awareness of the problems they face is important, so this article is not just relevant to foreigners but to Thais as well.

Excerpts from the form posted to social media by foreigners. The three-page document, available only in English and bearing no government identification, asks for extremely personal information.


The new immigration form titled Record of Foreigner Information entered circulation earlier this month.

It asks for people's name, age and passport details.

It adds new sections to pre-existing forms, such as listing "all social media used by foreigner" and the names of places the person frequents (or "hangs out" at), specifying night clubs, restaurants, shops, hospitals or other places they spend a lot of time at.

It also asks for bank account numbers, and information on any vehicle and licence plates of cars or motorcycles the foreigner uses.


"I was shocked when I saw the contents of the three-page form I was asked to complete while applying for a re-entry permit at the Immigration Centre at Chamchuri Square," said Chris Wotton, a 27-year-old writer, who has been living in Bangkok since 2012.

"One part of the form was particularly ridiculous -- asking for 'places frequented'.

"This is just crazy.

"Should I put down every local stir-fry restaurant, som tum stall, bar and 7-Eleven convenience store I visit? The form asks for very personal information."

He said recent online data leaks from overseas hackers have already shown immigration authorities do not appear able to safeguard the data they already have.


Tan Nguyen, 38, a Vietnamese correspondent from Thanh Nien newspaper who has been working in Bangkok since September 2014, said he is not willing to give any personal details.

"If they [the Immigration Bureau] force me to fill out a form, I would lie about the information they need," Tan said.

A 33-year-old Canadian national, who has been working in Thailand for nearly 10 years, but asked not to be named, said he felt uncomfortable providing his private information to Thai authorities.

"I have no faith in any government's ability to protect my private information," he said.

Information on foreigners visiting Thailand displayed on computer monitors at the new Thai Immigration 24/7 Center.


The Immigration Bureau, however, has defended its move to ask foreign visitors and expatriates to fill out an elaborate application form, including personal and banking details, as they seek visas and meet government re-entry to the country and 90-day reporting requirements.

But the bureau said most of the questions on the form -- such as which restaurants and clubs people frequent and which social media they used -- were not mandatory.

Pol Maj Gen Chatchawan Wachirapaneekhun, deputy chief of the bureau, who initiated the idea, said the information, plus an additional picture to be affixed to the form, would be useful for security measures.

New immigration policy and motto.


The bureau will use the information to ensure the safety of tourists or those who work in Thailand, he said, assuring the details will remain confidential.

The bureau will analyse the data to help their efforts to prevent crimes, adding anyone who feels uncomfortable will not be forced to fill in the detalls.


A source at the bureau said the move is being implemented on a trial basis and was initiated by Pol Maj Gen Chatchawan and approved by Pol Lt Gen Nathathorn Prousoontorn, chief of the bureau.

The bureau has since been flooded with complaints by foreigners worried about their safety and privacy, the source said.

Learn from listening

Click "play" to listen to New immigration form: Privacy violation? and "Download" to keep this file for educational purpose.


account : bank account; money kept in a bank - บัญชี

additional : more; more than was first mentioned or is usual - ที่เพิ่มขึ้น

advanced (adj): having the most modern and recently developed ideas, methods, etc - ก้าวหน้า, สมัยใหม่

affix : to fasten something to something else - ผูก, ติด, ประทับ

analyse : to examine the nature or structure of something, especially by separating it into its parts, in order to understand or explain it - วิเคราะห์, ศึกษา, ตรวจสอบ

appear : to seem - ดูเหมือนจะ, ดูเหมือนว่า

application : a formal request for permission to do or have something - การขอ

apply (verb): to make a formal request for permission to do or have something - ขอ, สมัคร

arguably : seems to be..., there are good reasons or evidence to show that it is .... -

assure : to tell someone that something is true or will definitely happen - ให้ความมั่นใจ, ยืนยัน

authority (noun): a person or government agency who has the power to make decisions or enforce the law - เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ

awareness : knowing that something exists, or having knowledge or experience of a particular thing - การรับรู้, การทราบ, ความตระหนัก

awareness : the state of knowing about something - การรับรู้, การทราบ

basis : the important facts, ideas or events that support something; the reason why people take a particular action - รากฐาน, หลักพื้นฐาน, หลัก

bureau : a government organisation - สำนักงาน

career : a job or series of related jobs that you do, especially a profession that you spend a lot of your working life in - อาชีพ

chief : a person with a high rank or the highest rank in a company or an organisation - หัวหน้า, ผู้นำ

circulation (noun): the passing or spreading of something from one person or place to another - การหมุนเวียน

citizen : someone who has the right to live permanently in a particular country - พลเมือง 

complaint : when someone says that something is wrong or not satisfactory - การบ่น, ข้อที่ไม่พอใจ

concern : a worry - ความกังวล

confidential : secret, often in a formal, business or military situation - ที่เป็นความลับ

content : the subject, ideas, or story that a piece of writing or a radio or television programme deals with - เนื้อหา,สาระ

convenience store : a shop/store that sells food, newspapers, etc. and often stays open 24 hours a day - ร้านสะดวกซื้อ

correspondent : a newspaper or television reporter, especially one who deals with a particular subject or area - นักข่าว

crime : an illegal activity or action - อาชญากรรม

customer (noun): a person or an organisation that buys something from a shop/store or business - ลูกค้า

data : facts or information used for making calculations or decisions - ข้อมูล

defend : to say things to support someone or something - ปกป้อง

deputy : a person whose rank is immediately below that of the leader of an organisation - รอง

detail (noun): the small facts or features of something - รายละเอียด, ส่วนเล็กๆ น้อยๆ, ส่วนย่อย

Eastern Seaboard : the well-developed affluent area with many factories that runs from south of Bangkok to Bang Na to Sri Racha to Chonburi and to Rayong. -

effort : an attempt to do something - ความพยายาม

elaborate : containing a lot of careful detail or many detailed parts - ที่ประณีต,อย่างรอบคอบ,ซับซ้อน,ละเอียด,ที่บรรจง

encounter : to experience something, especially something unpleasant or difficult, while you are trying to do something else - เจอ, ประสบ

ensure : to make certain that something happens or is done - ให้การยืนยัน, รับรอง, ให้ความมั่นใจ

especially : more with one person, thing, etc. than with others, or more in particular circumstances than in others - โดยเฉพาะอย่างยิ่ง

expatriate (expat) : a person living in a country that is not their own - คนที่อาศัยอยู่ต่างประเทศ (เป็นเวลานาน)

faith : trust in somebody's ability or knowledge; trust that somebody/something will do what has been promised - ศรัทธา

flood : a large amount or number of something - จำนวนมาก

force (noun): making someone do something that they don't want to do - การบังคับ

forced : making someone do something that they don't want to do - บังคับ

fraction (noun): a small part of something - ส่วนน้อย, จำนวนเล็กน้อย

frequent : to visit a particular place often - ไปบ่อย,ไปเป็นประจำ

GDP : gross domestic product, the total value of all goods and services produced in a country in a year, except for income received from money invested in other countries ผลิตภัณฑ์มวลรวมภายในประเทศ -

graduate : a person who has a university degree - ผู้รับปริญญา, ผู้สำเร็จการศึกษา

hacker : a person who secretly finds a way of looking at and/or changing information on somebody else's computer system without permission - ผู้ที่มีความชำนาญในการใช้คอมพิวเตอร์ไปในทางที่ผิดกฎหมาย เช่น แอบขโมยข้อมูลจากคอมพิวเตอร์ในเครือข่าย

hang out : to meet at a place with friends; frequent; to visit a particular place often - ไปบ่อย,ไปเป็นประจำ

immigration : the process in which people enter a country in order to live there permanently - การย้ายถิ่นฐาน

immigration (bureau) : the government agency dealing with people entering and leaving the country and those who want to live there - สำนักงานตรวจคนเข้าเมือง

Immigration Bureau : the government agency dealing with people entering and leaving the country and those who want to live there - สำนักงานตรวจคนเข้าเมือง

initiate : to make something start - ริเริ่ม

interact : communicate with or react to - มีปฏิกิริยากับ

intimate : very close, friendly and personal - คุ้นเคย, ใกล้ชิด, สนิทสนม

issue : a problem that needs to be considered - ประเด็น

licence plate : a flat piece of metal or plastic on the front and back of a vehicle that shows its license number - แผ่นป้ายทะเบียนรถยนต์

lie : to deliberately say something that is not true - โกหก, พูดเท็จ

listing : a list of things -

local : in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about - ท้องถิ่น

mandatory : ordered by a law or rule - ตามข้อบังคับ

measure : an action that is intended to achieve or deal with something - มาตราการ

move (noun): action -

multinational (noun): a company that operates in many different countries - บรรษัทข้ามชาติ, บริษัทระหว่างประเทศ

national : a citizen of a particular country - ประชาชน

negative : bad - ที่เป็นด้านลบ

online : controlled by or connected to a computer or to the Internet - ออนไลน์, การเชื่อมต่อผ่านระบบเครือข่ายทางคอมพิวเตอร์

overseas : in another country - ต่างประเทศ

particularly : especially, or more than usual - โดยเฉพาะ

passport (noun): the official government document that people need to travel outside their own country - หนังสือเดินทาง

perceived : thought of or understood in a particular way - ได้รับการมองว่า

permit : an official document that gives you permission to do something - ใบอนุญาต

personal : your own; not belonging to or connected with anyone else - เป็นส่วนตัว

pre-existing (adj): existing (present) from an earlier time - ที่เป็นอยู่ก่อน

prevent (verb): to stop somebody from doing something; to stop something from happening - ขัดขวาง, ป้องกัน, กัน, กีดขวาง

privacy : the freedom to do things without other people watching you or knowing what you are doing - ความเป็นส่วนตัว

private : intended for or involving a particular person or group of people, not for people in general - ส่วนตัว

protect : to make sure that something is not harmed or damaged - ปกป้อง, ป้องกัน

provide : to give someone/ something that they want or need - จัดหาให้, จัดเตรียมไว้ให้

put down : write on a piece of paper or form -

re-entry (noun): leaving a country and then returning to it - การกลับเข้าเมือง

reaction : the way something responds as a result of something that happens - ปฏิกิริยา การตอบสนอง, ปฏิกิริยาตอบโต้

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

recently (adverb): not long ago - เมื่อไม่นานมานี้, เมื่อเร็วๆ นี้

record : a written account of something that is kept so that it can be looked at and used in the future - บันทึก, รายงาน

remain : to still be present after the other parts have been removed, used, etc; to continue to exist - ยังเหลืออยู่

requirements (noun): things that you must have or do in order to do or get something else - ข้อกำหนด, ข้อบังคับ

ridiculous : silly or unreasonable and deserving to be laughed at - น่าขัน, น่าหัวเราะ, ไร้สาระ

safeguard : to protect something/somebody from loss, harm or damage; to keep something/somebody safe - ป้องกัน, ปกป้อง, คุ้มครอง, อารักขา

section : any of the parts into which something is divided - ส่วน

sector : a part of a country’s economic or business activity - ภาค (เศรษฐกิจ)

security : protection; safety from attack, harm, or damage - ความมั่นคง, ระบบรักษาความปลอดภั, ความปลอดภัย

skills (noun): the ability to do certain things well, usually as a result of experience and training - ฝีมือ, ทักษะ

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

source : someone who gives information - แหล่งข่าว

specify : to explain something in an exact and detailed way - ระบุ  ชี้แจงรายละเอียด

stall : a large table or a small building that is open at the front, used for selling things (or for giving people information) - รถ หรือแผงขายของ

stir-fry : to cook thin strips of vegetables or meat quickly by stirring them in very hot oil - ผัด

trial : a test, usually over a limited period of time, to discover how effective or suitable something or someone is - การทดลอง, การทดสอบ

typically : usually; normally - อย่างเป็นแบบฉบับ

uncomfortable : anxious, embarrassed or afraid and unable to relax; making you feel like this - ไม่สบายใจ, อึดอัด, อึดอัดใจ

upset : to cause to be very worried, angry or sad about something   - ทำให้วิตกกังวล ทำให้หงุดหงิด

vehicle : a machine that you travel in or on, especially one with an engine that travels on roads, e.g., a car, bus, van, truck, etc. - ยานพาหนะ

violation : an action that is against a law, agreement, principle, etc. - การฝ่าฝืน

visa : an official document or mark in your passport that allows you to enter or leave a country for a specific purpose or period of time - วีซ่า, เอกสารอนุมัติที่ประทับตราบนหนังสือเดินทาง

visitor (noun): a person who goes to a place for a short time; a tourist or guest - นักท่องเที่ยว, ผู้มาเยี่ยม, ผู้มาเยือน

willing : to be happy to do something if it is needed - ซึ่งสมัครใจ, ซึ่งมีความตั้งใจ


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