Observations from Thailand’s Personal Data Protection Act

Date & time
12.30–1.30pm Thursday 30 January 2020

Phillipa Weeks Staff Library, 5 Fellows Road, Building 7, Level 4, ANU College of Law, Acton, ACT 2601

Research Office
ANU College of Law Research Seminar
Observations from Thailand's Personal Data Protection Act

After remaining as drafts for more than 20 years largely due to the resistance from business sectors, last year the Personal Data Protection Act was finally approved by the National Legislation Assembly of Thailand (the legislative body under military regime after 2014 coup). Under anxiety and confusion, several sectors are preparing to comply with this new law which will be effective in May 2020. This seminar will address the observed influences of transnational standards and examine the following questions. Is legal diffusion different in the context of digital law? What are the local conditions of successful legal reception? Can a law received through market-driven motivation become tool for human rights protection or democratisation?

Among transnational standards on data protection and privacy, the EU’s General Data Protection (GDPR) was the most important and undoubtedly changed the dynamic in Thai legislative process. Though GDPR was developed to secure European citizens’ rights by providing legal tools for users to bargain with companies (particularly multinational tech giants), it may extraterritorially enhance digital freedom of citizens in developing countries when facing not only data-driven business but also governmental authorities. The EU’s normative power reaching outside Europe has been widely discussed in the context of democratisation and human rights protection. The EU norm intended to give effects inside EU may lead to “the race to the top” for the worldwide connected digital regulation. The economic law may be instrumentally used to enrich fundamental rights protection. This seminar will also touch upon potential problems of implementation such as misinterpretation of legal principles, mismatch with related local rules, wrong assumptions of different legal culture, which are typical issues found in case of legal transplant.


  • Thitirat Thipsamritkul »

    Thitirat Thipsamritkul is a lecturer at the Faculty of Law, Thammasat University (Center of International Law, Center of Japanese Legal Studies), where she teaches public international law, human rights law, media law, law and technology. She holds LLB from Kyoto University, and two LLMs from GSICS, University of Kobe (in International Law) and SOAS (in Law, Development and Governance). Thitirat is especially interested in the relation between market, technology and human rights. Her current research focus is the area of freedom of expression, privacy and internet governance, in which she also cooperates with civil society and public sector to advocate for better legislation and policy, including the recent Thailand Data Protection Law.

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