Huge support for petition against new cyber crime law

Huge support for petition against new cyber crime law

Representatives of opponents to the computer crime amendment bill arrange name lists of  supporters of their petition at the parliament on Thursday. (Photo by Pattarachai Preechapanich)
Representatives of opponents to the computer crime amendment bill arrange name lists of supporters of their petition at the parliament on Thursday. (Photo by Pattarachai Preechapanich)

Opponents of a computer crime bill have submitted a petition to the government with over 336,000 signatures, but Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha still insists strict internet controls are essential to block harmful data.

Representatives of the Thai Netizen Network filed their petition together with the names of their supporters at the parliament on Thursday.

As of mid-afternoon the petitioner's website claimed to have 336,427 signatures of support.

They called for the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) to review the amendment bill the government claims is essential to modernise the present Computer Crime Act. The assembly is set to consider the third and final reading of the bill on Friday.

Sarinee Ashavanuntakul, founder of the network, called for a review of six sections in the bill. She said it should clearly specify offences, protect people's privacy and rights concerning their personal information and require the parliament to endorse any measure that would affect people's basic rights and liberty.

She said the bill would empower the government to block, without a court order, websites and information that was not illegal, just seen as undesirable. She also opposed a section of the bill relating to defamatory offences.

Earlier report: Computer bill bugs rights advocates

In response, Prime Minister Prayut said in Songkhla province on Thursday that people must not misunderstand the contents of the bill. If they read the bill, they would understand it was intended to tackle only people who commit wrong.

The government would not snoop on everyone, but would examine data with due cause, he said.

The prime minister denied the bill would lead to a single internet gateway, saying it would allow authorities to track the sources of any posts that were harmful to society.

Otherwise, such posts could be used to instigate disorder or violence, Gen Prayut said.

Opponents to the computer crime bill file a petition at the parliament on Thursday. (Video by Chanat Katanyu)


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