The Thai Netizen Network submitted a petition to the government today. It’s been signed by 300,000 internet users who are against the amendment of the Computer Crime Act, which they view as an infringement of human rights.
The controversial amendment is scheduled to be approved by the cabinet by tomorrow (Dec. 16). The amendment has alarmed the rights group. They fear the “ambigious” sections will be abused to obtain the personal information of netizens and interfere with freedom of expression, Thairath reported.
Thai Netizen Network’s petition on Change.org received a lot of support. Over 300,000 people signed the petition, which demands that the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) halt movement on the amendment and revise the sections that affect people’s online privacy and security.
In the past week, two advocacy groups for law and digital rights, the Thai Netizen Network and iLaw, have discussed that the amendment would risk people’s online security and allow state officers to deliberately block any pages they find inappropriate. On their Facebook pages, the groups continued breaking down each section and the impact of the new laws.
Social media influencers also joined forces to oppose the upcoming bill. Youngblood online news agencies like The Matter and The Momentum, which have over 200,000 followers combined, make serious points aimed at raising awareness about the moral dictatorian nature of the act and the risks to security if the amendment is passed. Drama-addict, one of the most influential Facebook pages in Thailand, spoke up to their over million followers and asked them to sign the petition. Satirical cartoon pages also address the issue.
Matichon reported that the amendment will enter the third stage of approval by the NLA on Dec 16. Junta spokesman Col. Sansern Kaewkamnerd insisted that the accusation that the act will steal personal information is not true, and that the government does not intend to implement the “Single Gateway”. He warned the campaigners to stop distorting facts or inciting dissent.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha told the media that the Computer Crime act is necessary to control inappropriate information from outside the country, especially information considered to defame the monarchy.
The government and its supporters insisted that if you are innocent, you have nothing to fear, but it seems that people do not approve the idea of authorities having more control of what they can see online or access their personal data.