New Computer Crimes Bill unanimously approved

Despite the protests of over 300,000 Thais, the junta’s lawmakers have passed the controversial Computer Crimes Bill to provide the state with heightened online surveillance and censorship powers.   
On 16 December 2016, the National Legislative Assembly, the junta-appointed law-making body, unanimously passed an amendment to the controversial Computer Crime Act. The bill passed with 167-0 votes in favour and five abstentions, reported Matichon Weekly.
The drafting committee claimed the law was needed because more and more offences are being committed online. This law will help protect computer users and prepare the country for a digital economy.
The bill’s passage came in spite of more than 300,000 Thais signing a petition denouncing the amendment. The law will give the state more power to suppress online content deemed defamatory to the monarchy or a threat to national security. 
The law also obliges internet service providers (ISPs) to actively monitor content distributed on their platforms, under the threat of half the penalties imposed on those who publish illegal content through their service. 
Further information on the bill can be found here.
All members of the NLA are appointed by the ruling junta (Photo from Matichon Weekly)

Since 2007, Prachatai English has been covering underreported issues in Thailand, especially about democratization and human rights, despite the risk and pressure from the law and the authorities. However, with only 2 full-time reporters and increasing annual operating costs, keeping our work going is a challenge. Your support will ensure we stay a professional media source and be able to expand our team to meet the challenges and deliver timely and in-depth reporting.

• Simple steps to support Prachatai English

1. Bank transfer to account “โครงการหนังสือพิมพ์อินเทอร์เน็ต ประชาไท” or “Prachatai Online Newspaper” 091-0-21689-4, Krungthai Bank

2. Or, Transfer money via Paypal, to e-mail address: [email protected], please leave a comment on the transaction as “For Prachatai English”