ICT Ministry’s ETDA unit trash police “Line App” plan; A Yingluck Angry at Police?

Three Smiling Women

Three Smiling Women (Photo credit: Graham Crumb)

The Electronic Transaction Development Agency (ETDA) says the state’s technology crime unit has “no authority” to trace people’s Line messages, as that would breach the criminal law, several local Thai press reports. “Tracing chats on social media networks would violate Section 157 of the Criminal Code,” said ETDA director Surangkana Wayuparb, who drafted and amended the Computer-Related Crime Act, adding under the act police must ask a court to order social network providers to give them access to messages. The Thai police insists its monitoring of Line App, is for national security and crims related issues. Line is a smartphone app which allows users to make free voice calls and send free emails and instant messages. The ETDA Agency is under the supervision of the ICT Minister, with an Executive Board of Directors appointed by the Cabinet. The warning came after the Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD) outlined a policy to monitor Line messages. The move by ETDA is seen by some neutral Thai observer as Yingluck’s government warning on the police, not to crack-down on Line App. Japan’s Line Corporation said it has not received an official request for message tracing from the Thai police, and also insisted that it does not collect or store any users’ information or messages, as it protects users’ privacy. Thailand is the world’s third-largest Line user, after Japan and Taiwan. Line has reached 200 million users worldwide.

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