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Cambodia: Civil society claims that draft Law on Cybercrime restricts free expression & privacy of individuals

"Civil Society Groups Say Draft Cybercrime Law Risks Free Expression, Privacy", 8 October 2020

A recent draft of the cybercrime law obtained by VOA Khmer has drawn concerns from NGOs and rights groups over clauses that could help the government intensify its crackdown on freedom of expression, while also raising privacy and data collection concerns.

The draft law, …, was intended to regulate Cambodia’s cyberspace and related crimes, giving judicial police and courts access to investigate these infractions. However, articles in an …. draft of the law reveals that it could be used to further curtail freedom of expression while relying on vaguely-defined scenarios to justify its implementation…

The draft states that any natural or legal person storing data on behalf of others or providing users the possibility of communicating through telecommunications systems are considered as service providers. It is unclear if this would be limited to internet and mobile service providers or also include cyber cafes and internet access provided by organizations to their staff…

Soeung Saroeun, executive director at Cooperation Committee for Cambodia, which represents a coalition of local and international NGOs, said stakeholder consultations should be conducted before passing the draft law because it involves private sector service providers and the general public, who mainly use Facebook…

Chak Sopheap, executive director at the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, said other contentious clauses in the leaked draft law were problematic. She said her concerns relate to the use of terms such as “public order” and “security,” which, she noted, were vague and open to interpretation by authorities…

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