Thailand: Personal Data Protection in Thailand

Last Updated: 20 July 2011
Article by David Duncan

Protection of personal data is a major concern in several jurisdictions. Our overseas clients often ask us about their obligations with respect to personal data they may have compiled, whether intentionally or inadvertently, with respect to their employees, customers, clients, or service users. Unfortunately, it is a common misconception that Thai law offers no protection to personal data. On the contrary, there are many sources of law that protect personal data and prohibit its disclosure, in certain circumstances.

Current Legal Framework

As a foundation, the 2007 Constitution provides that a person's family rights, dignity, reputation, and the right of privacy shall be protected. The assertion or circulation of a statement or picture in any manner whatsoever, to the public, which violates or affects a person's family rights, dignity, reputation, or the right of privacy, shall not be made, except for the case which is beneficial to the public. Personal data of a person shall be protected from the seeking of unlawful benefit as provided by law. The coverage of this clause is expanded, when compared with the 1997 Constitution.

With respect to personal data maintained by the government, the Official Information Act protects personal information of Thai people and foreigners who have residences in Thailand. The Act defines personal data quite broadly, to include information relating to all the particulars of a person, such as education, financial status, health record, criminal record, and employment record, which contain the name of such person or contain a numeric reference, code, or such other indications identifying that person, including fingerprints. The law specifically includes tapes or discs on which a person's sound is recorded, photographs, and information on those who are deceased. The Act sets out requirements for personal data systems operated by the government, establishes restrictions on the disclosure of personal data, and empowers data subjects to request correction of personal data maintained by the government.

The Penal Code also addresses the disclosure of secrets by those who acquire them in the context of their functions as government officials or as practitioners of certain professions, including doctors, pharmacists, midwifes, nurses, priests, lawyers, and auditors. Specifically, these individuals are prohibited from disclosing such secrets in a manner likely to cause injury to any person. These obligations also apply to assistants to such professionals, as well as to persons undergoing training for these professions.

There are also a variety of industry-specific regulations applicable to personal data collected or maintained by certain participants in those industries. For example, telecommunications licensees are subject to special regulations relating to personal data of their service users, and for procuring the compliance of third parties contracted to process such data. There are also specific requirements that relate to personal data under the Financial Institutions Act, the Credit Information Business Operation Act, and the National Health Security Act. They set out additional obligations and, in some cases, provide comprehensive framework for data protection, applicable only within those industries, or to those who use such information.

Personal Data Protection Bill

The Personal Data Protection Bill, which has been under consideration for a number of years, would provide a comprehensive regulatory structure for personal data, applicable to virtually all government and private sector entities. Based on the latest Bill we have reviewed, the concept of personal data is essentially the same as that used in the Official Information Act. The Bill would establish a Personal Data Protection Board, and would set numerous obligations for data controllers. It takes the general approach that a data controller may not collect, use, or disclose any personal data, without the consent of the data owner, except as authorized by law. The Bill contains an outright prohibition on collection of data relating to sexual conduct, criminal history, health, national origin, race, political opinion, or religious beliefs; data that is detrimental, impairs one's reputation, or causes any sense of discrimination; and as otherwise may be prescribed in ministerial regulations, though it would also provide a number of exceptions to this prohibition.

The Bill would require that data owners' consent only be sought honestly, and would establish framework for regulating this. It would also empower data owners to revoke their consent at any time, subject to the requirements of applicable law and other agreements, though revocation of consent would not be effective with respect to personal data that has been properly anonymized. Data controllers would also have the obligation to ensure that proper security measures are in place, so as to protect personal data against loss, alteration, or modification, and they would also be obligated to ensure that the data used or disclosed (when permissible) is correct, complete, and current. Moreover, if a data controller wishes to use or disclose personal data for a purpose beyond that for which the data owner has given consent, it would almost always be necessary to seek the data owner's further consent. Subject to some exceptions, it would also be necessary to seek consent to transfer personal data overseas, and a process would be established for consideration of whether the intended recipient country's personal data protection laws are sufficiently stringent.

In addition to the foregoing, business operators would be subject to additional requirements. These would include the obligation to set out appropriate policies and to communicate them when seeking consent, to procure the compliance of their employees (through terms in employment agreements, as well as through training), to properly indentify employees who collect personal data (through name badges), and to file reports with the Personal Data Protection Board. There are also special obligations when winding up a business, so that personal data would still be sufficiently protected or properly disposed. So as to aid in consumer understanding, the Bill would also establish a certification program, which would allow 'good' data controllers to display a certification mark to their customers.

Current laws guard against disclosure of personal data, particularly when such disclosure would be damaging in some way, and higher levels of protection already exist in certain sectors. The Personal Data Protection Bill, when it is enacted, will provide additional protection for consumers, but will also present businesses with greater compliance responsibilities.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.