Part Three: The Laws Relating to Electronic Commerce
1. Legal Provisions Directly Relating to Electric Commerce
Presently, Thailand has two Acts which directly relate to electronic
commerce. They are:-
1) The Electronic Transactions Act of B.E. 2544 (2001)
The reason for promulgation of this Act is to provide legalrecognition of electronic transactions by enabling them to have the same legal effect as that given to transactions made by traditional paper means. The Act ensures a regulatory environment in order to promote the reliability of electronic commerce as follows:-
- Recognition of data messages by treating them the same as the messages made or evidenced in writing as well as treating them as an original document under the law.
- Recognition methods of dispatch and receipt of data messages.
- Recognition of the use of electronic signatures.
- Evidential admissibility of data messages.
The Act applies to all commercial transactions performed by using a data message except ones that relate to family matters and succession.5 This Act shall, also, govern electronic transactions in the public sectors if they are made in the form which are in accordance with the rules and procedures prescribed by the Royal Decree.6
Moreover, in order to facilitate electronic commerce business, the Thai Government has issued the Royal Decree of B.E.2551(2008) to monitor the
business operation of electronic payment services. In addition, the Royal Decree Prescribing the Service Business Operator Relating to Electronic Commerce Which Shall Be Subject to Prior Notification, Registration or License of B.E. ... and the Royal Decree Prescribing the Security Procedure Presumed as a Reliable Method for Electronic Transaction of B.E. ... shall be announced in a very near future.
In Thailand the Electronic Transactions Act has been seen as an important player in facilitating legal environment that takes into account the growth of electronic commerce business.
2) The Computer Crime Act of B.E. 2550 (2007)
The objective of this Act is to stipulate measures aimed at preventing and suppressing the commission of a computer related offences.The contents of the Act can be summarized as follows:-7
- The Act stipulates three types of offences: offences related to computer system, offences related to computer data and offences related to providing of tools used in committing a computer crime.
- The Act imposes obligations and liabilities of internet service providers (ISP): for example duty to store computer traffic data for at least ninety days from the date onwhich the data is input into a computer system, duty to keep the necessary information of the service users in order to be able to identify them from the beginning of the service provision.
- Computer data that acquired by the competent official shall be admissible in evidence under the law.
It can be claimed that the Computer Crime Act supports ICT infrastructure by ensuring the security and building confidence of interested parties in performing electronic transactions.
2. Legal Provisions Indirectly Relating to Electronic Commerce
Apart from the above mentioned legislations, Thailand also has various Acts which are not directly related to but are involved in electronic commerce promoting. These provisions are:-
1) The Penal Code Since the electronic card is a popular form of payment in today business, In B.E.2547 (2004), seven new provisions of Sections 269/1 to 269/7 were added to the Penal Code of Thailand. These provisions stipulate the offences related to electronic card forgery; for example, making, using, and owning of forged electronic card are constituted as criminal offences and shall be punished to a fine or imprisonment.
2) Consumer Protection Laws
- Consumer Protection Act of B.E. 2522 (1979) This Act gives consumers a protection against false, misleading and unfair advertising of goods and
services. It guarantees that consumers shall have the same rights irrespective of whether the transaction is carried out electronically or by traditional means.
- Direct Selling and Direct Marketing Act of B.E. 2545 (2002) As electronic transaction falls under the definition of the term "direct marketing" of the
Act; sellers and providers who offer their goods or services to customers through electronic means are required to comply with the provisions of the Act. For instance, documents regarding the purchase or sale of goods or services to customers shall have Thai statement that is easy to understand; the customers shall have the right toterminate the contract within a cooling-off period.
3) Data Protection Laws
- Credit Information Business Act B.E. 2545 (2002) This Act sets out several measures to protect credit information such as prohibiting a credit information company from gathering and recording individual's information that does not relate to the request for credit; the credit information company shall prepare system in place to secure the confidentiality and safe keeping of information to prevent the abuse and unauthorized access use of the credit information.
- Personal Data Protection Bill This Bill is currently on its drafting
process. The Bill follows the principles set out under the worldwide accepted model, the OECD Guidelines on the Protection of Privacy and Transborder Flows of Personal Data.8 However, at present, the provisions on Tort under the Civil and Commercial Code provides legal protection that can cover personal data on consumer and business information.
Part Four: Conclusion
From the above three parts, the author would like to analyze and conclude that:-
1. Thailand has set out its policy in providing an environment that supports
ICT infrastructure development; the policy, also, emphasizes on using of technology as a tool to increase the country's economy. Therefore, it can be considered that Thailand has direct policy to promote electronic commerce development.
2. Thai Government sector has well responded to the country's ICT policy.
Various government agencies, for instance, the Ministry of Information and
Communications Technologies, The National Electronics and Computer Technology
Center play role to increase efficiency of Thai information technology as well as strengthening the performance of the country's industrial sector. The Department of Business Development, Ministry of Commerce is in charge with opportunity and confidence building for electronic commerce business operators.
Apart from this, electronic transactions have also been introduced by government agency to provide services to the public in the form of government to citizen (G2C) type. Examples are electronic custom services of the Custom Department, electronic tax filing services of the Revenue Department.
3.It is obvious that Thailand provides adequate legal provisions to support
electronic trade. Those legislations are both directly and indirectly related to electronic commerce. Illustration has already been made in part three of this article.
The analysis, finally, leads to the answer that policies and laws of Thailand are proper to support the rapid growth and development of electronic commerce. Also, electronic trade is a new opportunity for Thai business operator that is worth a try.