Thai Man Gets Year in Jail for Explicit Pics on Website

BANGKOK, Thailand—A Thai man has been sentenced to a year in jail and fined the equivalent of about $600 for allowing an internet user to post photos of a woman having sex to his website.

According to the Bangkok Post, Phongwit Singan, 23, was charged under Thailand’s Cyber Crimes Act with allowing nude, explicit images of the unidentified woman to be posted to his public photo uploading site, Because Singan reportedly confessed, his initial sentence of two years in jail and a $1,200 fine was halved.

“Pictures of a naked woman having sex with a man appeared on the site from Oct. 6 to Nov. 30, 2007, and were viewed many times,” reports the Post, adding that Singen, who said it was not easy to control the site’s nearly 100,000 members despite continuous efforts to delete improper content, earned about $600 a month from online ad sales.

Considered one of the most intrusive laws regulating the internet in the world, Thailand's Cyber Crimes Act (CCA) took effect in July 2007, and broadly defines three types of activity as criminal acts.

The first covers "illegal access and use of computer systems and computer data," more commonly known as hacking, spamming and virus attacks. In the language of the Act, this includes "accessing a computer system and its data without authority or permission or giving people passwords and other confidential information that would allow them to gain access to other peoples' computer systems and data," including:

  • Intercepting electronic communications and data;
  • Causing damage to or changing computer data in whole or in part;
  • Causing the work of a computer system to be suspended, delayed or disrupted;
  • Disguising the source of computer data or electronic mail in a way that disturbs the operation of other peoples' computer systems.

The second type of CAA-covered criminal activity covers fraud, distributing technology or data that could be used to break into computer systems or could affect public security, and includes:

  • Introducing forged or false data into a computer system that could cause damage to a third party, the country's security or cause public panic;
  • Introducing forged or false data to a computer system related to an offense against the Criminal Code;
  • Introducing data of a pornographic nature that is publicly accessible.

The third category of criminal activity is designed to protect personal privacy rights. The CCA makes it a crime to import into a computer system that is publicly accessible any data where another person's picture appears either created, edited, added or adapted, "in a manner that is likely to impair the third party's reputation or cause that party to be isolated or embarrassed." The definition applies to blogs, chat rooms or publishing "amusing" mobile phone video clips on publicly accessible websites like YouTube.

The CCA also includes Section 26, which made data retention mandatory for all service providers, requiring them to keep records of their users' email, chat, internet usage and personal identification for a minimum of 90 days.

Service providers may be asked for data and/or information that can:

  • Trace and identify the source and content of a communication;
  • Trace and identify the destination of a communication;
  • Identify the date, time and duration of a communication;
  • Identify the type of communication;
  • Identify the communication device;
  • Identify the location of mobile communication equipment.