Electronic Transactions Law

The Electronic Transactions Law was created under the military government to regulate the internet and control internet users using harsh criminal punishments. The Electronic Transactions Law includes illegitimate criminal punishments for freedom of expression which are unacceptable in a democracy.

Summary of recommendations

The Electronic Transactions Law needs to be replaced with a cyber-crime law in line with international standards.

Articles 33-34 – Content regulation

Articles 33-34 regulate content sent electronically. Article 33 criminalises receiving, sending or distributing electronic information which harms national security, community peace, solidarity, the economy or culture, with a prison term of 15 years. Article 34 criminalises creating or altering electronic information which harms the dignity of any person or organisation, with a prison term of 5 years. There are no definitions of any of these acts.

International standards

Any restriction on freedom of expression must be clearly written and necessary in a democracy. Articles 33-34 are not clear because they criminalise acts that are vague and undefined. Some of the restrictions such as harming national security could be acceptable but there is no definition of what national security is, so the law could be easily abused to censor people. International standards list what limitations to freedom of expression are acceptable, and most of the limitations in Articles 33-34 are not.

Recommendation

Repeal Articles 33-34 and replace them with a cyber-crime law in line with international standards.

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