Thai Parliament passes new cyber law allowing more state control

The new law aims to prevent hacking of government websites and databases. PHOTO: AFP

BANGKOK (DPA) - The Thai Parliament on Thursday (Feb 28) passed a controversial cyber law allowing more state control and scrutiny of information and electronic devices.

Under the new law, which aims to prevent the hacking of government websites and databases, state officials will have the authority to access information from anyone, while they can hold any computers and other electronic devices under suspicion of cyber crimes for up to 30 days.

The authorities can also raid, seize, and copy online information without a court warrant, and their actions cannot be appealed against.

The law was passed despite protests from legal experts and activists.

"There's no clear definition of what constitutes a threat to cyber security, and the authorities cannot be checked and held accountable," said Mr Anusorm Tamajai, dean of Rangsit University just outside Bangkok.

Local legal rights advocacy group iLaw also called the Bill "an online martial law" because it has such a tight state control.

Anti-government hacktivism has occasionally happened in Thailand, with the latest prominent case taking place in 2016.

Thailand already has a very tough computer law in which people face up to five years in prison if found guilty of sharing fake news online.

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