Draft digital laws flawed, says panel

Draft digital laws flawed, says panel

A sub-committee vetting 10 draft laws aimed at bringing about a digital economy has pointed out several key flaws in the bills.

The panel said more information drawn from studies by a committee under the National Reform Council (NRC) would be needed before any decision is made on the bills.

According to the sub-committee's report, although the draft laws may be fine in principle, they are focused more on the country's security needs than the security of the computer system or the cyber space system, a parliamentary source said yesterday.

This may affect confidence among business operators, which could harm the economy, the report said.

The report raises concerns over the laws curbing the rights of members of the public.

The source said the report pointed out there was a lack of public participation in the preparation of the bills.

The bills herald a major shift in the principles of frequency allocation, which could run against the principles of the constitution and the nation's international obligations, the report warned. 

It also said the proposed laws will not serve the purpose of advancing the so-called digital economy's development, despite its stated aim.

The bills also fail to cover important areas such as good governance in personnel recruitment and selection system for state agencies, financial discipline, a guarantee that officials will use their powers and maintain their responsibilities with transparency and accountability, the report said.

The report also indicates the draft laws will lead to limitations on the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission's (NBTC) independence to make decisions on frequency allocation.

Under the changes, the NBTC will have to follow policies that are approved by the committee.

"This set of laws also gives officials in certain areas as much authority as the police," the source said.

Meanwhile, the National Reform Council (NRC) sub-committee has now presented the results of its study into bills related to the digital economy to the NRC's committee on media and information technology reform.

The sub-committee said more details are needed before any decision is made on the bills. Ways to protect the rights of the public are also needed, to counter-balance some of the strict security measures under the bills, the report said.

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