Microsoft urges Thai businesses to be prepared for Thailand’s new Personal Data Protection Act and rising consumer demand for security and privacy

 |   Thornthawat Thongnab

51% of Thai consumers see uncertainty in safety of their personal data as majority shows support for public-private collaboration in defining policies to govern AI use

Bangkok, May 15, 2019 – Microsoft Thailand is underlining the importance of trust as a key technological and strategic element in today’s digital landscape as public and private organizations alike have influential roles to play in defining policies for an AI-infused society of the future. The company has also revealed the results of a study on Thai consumers’ perspectives on data security and privacy.

Today, transactions and interactions in Thailand across both public and private sectors are widely becoming digital – a notion driven home by the country’s highest rate of access to digital financial services worldwide. At the same time, consumers are becoming more aware of the cybersecurity risks and the risks to the privacy of their personal data, not just from cybercriminals but also from neglect on the service provider’s part.

Ome Sivadith, National Technology Officer of Microsoft Thailand Limited, said, “Despite consumers’ increasing reliance on digital services, there is still a considerable trust gap that needs to be addressed. The study from IDC found that most consumers still do not perceive organizations to be trustworthy in securing their personal data or preventing this data from being misused. In the meantime, the passing of new regulations such as the Personal Data Protection Act will drive organizations to transform their businesses to meet trust and transparency standards that strengthen consumer trust in Thailand and around the world.”

Half of consumers in Thailand have lack of trust on digital platforms

The joint study by Microsoft and IDC Asia/Pacific, titled “Understanding Consumer Trust in Digital Services in Asia Pacific”, asked respondents to provide their opinions on the five elements of trust  when using digital services – namely privacy, security, reliability, ethics, and compliance – from 6,372 consumers in 14 countries, including 452 consumers surveyed in Thailand. Key findings from the study are as follows:

Graphs showing consumer trust in digital services

  • 51% of consumers in Thailand are not confident that organizations will treat their information in a trustworthy manner
  • Although Thai consumers feel that all five elements of trust are of almost equal importance, the study did find that compliance is the element they are least concerned about
  • While e-commerce continues to grow rapidly in Thailand with an estimated total market value of 3.15 trillion Baht last year, consumers have the lowest expectations for the retail sector in trustworthy handling of personal data
  • Thai consumers believe that both the public and private sectors have to work together to establish standards and policies in building trust in digital services and cutting-edge technologies such as AI. Notably, Gen Z consumers feel that private organizations should take the lead in this initiative.

Cybercriminals still a menace in Thailand with higher threat occurrence rate than global average

Meanwhile, cybercriminals continue to pose a threat to individual consumers and businesses alike using a wide variety of attack vectors. The 24th edition of Microsoft’s Security Intelligence Report concluded that the top four threats for Internet users in Thailand are general malware (with incidents occurring 107% more frequently than global average and 51% more than the Asia-Pacific average), cryptocurrency mining malware (+133% / +100%), ransomware (+140% / +71%), and drive-by downloads (+33% / +9%).

“These findings show that businesses in the digital era have to cope with new risks from both within and beyond the organization. Building and maintaining consumer trust is now a significant challenge for every organization,” added Mr. Ome. “Our joint study also shows that 42% of Thai consumers have faced issues that damaged their trust in digital services. 62% of these consumers turned to alternative services immediately after encountering such an issue, while 33% chose to stop using the service.”

Personal Data Protection Act presents important new factors for businesses to consider

The recent endorsement of the Personal Data Protection Act represents an important step forward for Thailand’s journey towards creating a complete digital society. The new law lays down clear-cut definitions on the rights that every individual has over their own personal data, protective measures designed to prevent misuse of this data, and mandatory responses to leaks or losses of personal data. In essence, the Act is setting an internationally-accepted standard for the handling of personal data in Thailand.

“This law is a key part of the foundation that Thailand needs to have in place before we can bring data-driven technologies like AI into the fabric of everyday life,” said Mr. Ome. “The Personal Data Protection Act will be enforced with a grace period for the private sector to adapt to its requirements. This is an excellent opportunity for businesses across all sectors and sizes to thoroughly study this new law as well as GDPR – the equivalent law in use in European Union member nations. Through this, they will be able to adapt their way of work to fit new standards, grow their business with confidence, and win the trust of their customers through excellence in all five elements of consumer trust.”

“One way for companies to elevate the standards of their operations is to adopt technologies that live up to global standards in privacy, security, stability, and compliance. Microsoft is ready to aid businesses in this regard with the Azure cloud platform, which fully satisfies these requirements.”

For more information on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, visit