ICT Ministry Defends Computer Crime Act Amendment


Minister of Information and Communications Technology, Uttama Savanayana, discussed a draft amendment to the Computer Crime Act on Monday. Mr. Uttama is adamant that the draft does not violate user privacy amid backlash from rights activists.

Activists allege that the ministry is trying to gain access to the encrypted data of users.

“The ICT Ministry cannot block or remove online content without a court order,” stated Mr. Uttama. He elaborated on the steps needed for removing illegal content in the country in accordance to Section 20 of the amendment. The complaint will need to be first reviewed by a filtering committee that must assess if the content is illegal.

Upon agreement from the committee that the content is illegal, it will be passed on to the ICT minister for review.

The content can then be blocked or removed if the court provides a court order. The ICT may issue the order for data to be blocked or removed within a specific timeframe. He insisted that the courts must deem the data to be illegal before it can be removed.

Service providers will be required to block content under Section 15 of the law, or be punished for not complying with the court order. The leaked document caused concerns because it mentions Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology. SSL technology is used for encryption between a client and a server.

Opponents to the amendment state that the mention of SSL technology may give the ICT access to Internet data that is encrypted.

Mr. Uttama reaffirmed, “This will reduce the state agent’s power in interpreting content.”