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Update on Laws Against Filming People in Thailand

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing updates on laws regarding filming people in Thailand. I have done a few videos on this, two I believe specifically and we have cited the law, some relevant law on this before where filming people without their permission in Thailand is illegal. It even can have criminal consequences in certain circumstances. The main thing to understand is this is not what we are going to be talking about here because the new Data Protection Act in Thailand has some provisions in it which pertain to possibly filming people and the consequences associated with that, but understand there is more law on this other than that one particular Act and we have discussed it in prior videos. 

The reason I started thinking of making this video is reading a pretty interesting article from the Pattaya Mail, that is, the article is titled: Tourists baffled by new Thai laws on cell Phones and Marijuana use. I urge those who are watching this video go check out that article; a lot of good insight in there. Quoting directly: "There is also much confusion about the Personal Data Protection Act which came into force at the beginning of the month. The main purpose is to protect individuals against commercial exploitation of fraud, but the loopholes and ambiguities are many." This is me talking now. Yeah that is usually the case with statutory construction. Quoting further: "Thus a spokesman for the Minister of Digital Economy and Society warns people, Thai or foreign, not to photograph or film others and then post the material on social media. Already, a middle-aged Thai woman is suing a media outlet (not this one) for publishing a photo of her in a skimpy go-go costume which leaves little to the imagination. She claims the picture caused her embarrassment and discredit. Concerns about the literal meaning of the legislation had even spread to Thai hospitals where some patients are being asked to sign a detailed declaration that the Company can hold and use personal data for professional and even marketing purposes. As regards personal data, the Police will in criminal cases have some discretion which to send to the public prosecutor's office. Civil cases will take years to resolve in a notoriously slow-moving bureaucracy. To misquote Betty Davis: "hold on to your hats, this could be a bumpy ride", end quote, end-misquote however you want to look at that. So, what is going on here? Well as with everything it takes a little bit of a minute to kind of shake out how promulgated law is actually going to be applied in practice so it is going to take a minute. 

Something really keep in mind with respect to this as we have discussed, there are already other laws on the books that can be used to cause somebody a problem who filmed someone without their permission and we have discussed them in prior videos. Even now, it looks like this new Act is going to have provisions specific to issues on filming people and putting it on social media and those who do that need to be really, really careful. I am looking at foreigners too, YouTubers and everything. This is not something to be cavalier about. This law was passed for a reason. They are not just passing laws because that's what they do although sometimes you do wonder. But yeah, there was clearly policy intent behind this and I expect it comes from the kind of evolution of the era in which we live in where there are a lot of people walking around with personal devices that can instantly film someone and put it online and there are consequences to that and there are implications of that that can occur on average people and average people here in Thailand may not love that idea and for this reason, this law is coming around. So be very cognizant of this when you are filming anyone.

One thing I just really don't like is when people go places, public places here in Thailand, I have seen this happen in many different places and people just start filming stuff or they get into a lot you know a video call with somebody and then they are just roaming their camera around. I don't want to have my photo taken by you. Me personally talking, but I know a lot of other Thais that don't want to have their photo taken and have their video likeness be transmitted to somebody they don't know. It's kind of creepy to me at least and I've talked to other Thai people that feel kind of the same way. So something to keep in mind if you are a tourist in Thailand. There is nothing wrong with taking pictures, I don't want to scare people here. Nobody is going to get upset if they happen to be way in the back of your selfie that you did on the beach and you just happened to pick them up. That is not what people are going to be upset about. What I think a lot of folks have some issues with here in Thailand is since the widespread usage of smartphones, people come to places here now and just video people without their permission, without any kind of consent. Maybe those people don't want to be filmed. That is really I think what part of this is aimed at is some of those issues associated with unwanted filming.