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Full Enforcement of Thailand’s Personal Data Protection Act Expected in June

The Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (DES) is confident that there will be no further delay in the total enforcement of the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA), which is scheduled to take place on 1 June 2022, while the Personal Data Protection Committee is expected to be finalised this month.

The Deputy Permanent Secretary for the DES and Secretary-General of the Office of Personal Data Protection Committee stated that the DES does not see any major reasons to postpone the full enforcement of the PDPA following two years of delay due to the pandemic, apart from some legal technical problems, though the chance of this remains minimal.

The DES Ministry is aware that the PDPA may cause some burden for related parties in terms of compliance but the ministry is trying to ensure the impact will be minimal with better personal data protection. The law will create transparency and accountability for personal data handling.

The DES Ministry considers data as a key element for the country’s development strategy while businesses are capitalising on data to create revenue. The DES will make sure the PDPA will not become an obstacle for businesses.

Over the past two years of the PDPA’s postponement, the DES Ministry has been drafting 29 regulations aligned with the PDPA, including 10 treated as a priority. By the end of this month, the Personal Data Protection Committee is expected to be established, he said.

The list of members of the committee is expected to be published later this month following cabinet approval. The committee will be responsible for considering all related regulations linked to the PDPA.

The 10 regulations include consent format for personal data usage, the process of data usage and data protection measurements. There will also be personal data protection guidelines for personal data controllers and personal data processors in seven sectors, covering healthcare, retail and e-commerce, education, logistics, travel, property and asset management as well as state agencies and administration.

A public hearing of up to 4,000 stakeholders on the issue has been conducted. In terms of penalties, there could be a reprieve in some groups, such as those with personal data of less than 100 people, but this needs to be considered by the new committee.

Once the committee is established, there must be a clear practice on how people can lodge a complaint with the PDPA office when their data is misused. Organisations handling personal data are obliged to report leaked data within 72 hours and inform data owners.

The organisations responsible for data leakage could face a fine by the PDPA office and a civil suit filed by those affected. The PDPA will require minimum security measures to protect personal data.

Under the PDPA, data protection officers must be appointed by organisations as contact persons with authority and they are obliged to contact the authorities within a stipulated time when the incident occurs. Consumers will have more confidence in using services while small businesses with small records of personal data would get a reprieve, he added.

In November 2021, National Digital Economics and Society Committee approved plans to develop a platform that supports compliance with the Personal Data Protection Act. The platform will also make government services available online for Thai digital start-ups.

Thailand’s Prime Minister stated the new government platform will help ease the overall financial burden on the state sector. It will also make online transactions more secure and bolster the development of a digital economy.

“The implementation will be divided into two phases. The first phase will take 18 months and will focus on the development and promotion of the platform. Training will also be provided to 2,000 personnel from 200 government agencies. The second phase will promote and evaluate the use of the platform in the private sector,” the PM stated.

The committee has also agreed to task the Digital Economy Promotion Agency with setting up a digital service account registration system for digital start-ups and providers. The digital service accounts will be linked with state mechanisms, such as tax policies, to broaden services provided to Thai digital entrepreneurs.

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