Legal representatives from both TrueMove and Dtac have slammed the new computer misuse act for moving the burden of proof to ISPs to prove their innocence while True said that the Single Gateway government mass surveillance program was still alive and well.
Speaking at a recent seminar entitled Online life: which way shall we go, Akarawit Jongsawasdiworakul from Dtac’s legal division said that unlike the US’ common carrier law, Thailand’s computer misuse act article 15 puts telcos at risk of criminal prosecution for the actions of their subscribers as service providers face the same criminal liability as their users for, say, an illegal posting.
Dtac has to invest significant resources into monitoring its users to stay safe legally, resources that could have better been invested in 5G, he said.
Unlike most aiding and abetting clauses in Thai law in which the aider gets two-thirds of the punishment, the computer misuse act doles out the same punishment to the service provider as it does to the criminal using it.
However, the latest draft amendment is much worse. In trying to fix that glaring problem, the new version lays out a system where authorities can issue orders to service providers to block the offending post. The law then goes on to say that if the service provider can prove they complied with the order, then they are exempted from any punishment.
Akarawit said that the computer misuse act shifts the burden of proof. Instead of the prosecution proving guilt, the service providers will now have to prove their innocence to a court.
He also noted that under the current law, censorship orders must be only via a court order. The new version only needs an order from a “the official in charge” without any judicial oversight.
Suporn Hornchaiya from True’s legal division, added that the definition of service provider is so vague that anyone with an unsecured WiFi hotspot would be subjected to the full force of the law.
Suporn said that today authorities use article 20 to block websites, not just those which are a threat to national security or good morals which are allowed under the law, but also use it to block gambling websites and copyright infringement sites which is not allowed under the law. He noted that courts regularly grant blocking orders for the latter.
Suporn said True has in the past appealed a court order, but the appeal was not accepted as the courts said that True was not an affected party to the blocking order.