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Text SMS messages 'are easy to forge'

Dec 24. 2011
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By Pravit Rojanaphruk
The Nation

Expert argues that phone notes are not reliable evidence


SMS messages should not be acceptable as evidence are not reliable evidence to be used in court as they can be easily forged, Internet and mobile-phone expert Wason Liwlompaisarn said.
“Every hacker knows this. The International Mobile Equipment Identity [IMEI] number can easily be doctored. Anyone who leaves his or her mobile phone unattended faces this risk, and this is no secret,” Wason said at a recent seminar on citizens’ rights and electronic evidence in relation to the recent 20-year jail sentence given to 61-year-old Amphon Tangnoppakul. 
Amphon was convicted of lese majeste after the court found him guilty of sending four defamatory SMS messages about Her Majesty the Queen and the monarchy institution. 
Wason said that in places like MBK Centre, one could easily have an IMEI number doctored. “So we’re all at risk now. Any mobile phone repairman in Thailand can do it.”
Amphon was tried under both the lese majeste law and the Computer Crimes Act (CCA). Arthit Suriyawongkul, coordinator of the TNN, said the group will introduce a people’s version of the Computer Crimes Act next year in order to push for an amendment of the law, which it deems draconian and undemocratic.
“We will gather 10,000 signatures to push for the bill to be taken up by Parliament,” said Arthit, referring to the minimum number of signatures needed to introduce a new bill.
The TNN released a report earlier this month urging that authorities not criminalise the clicking on the “Like” button on Facebook pages deemed critical of the monarchy institution. 
The report cited a Canadian court’s ruling that such actions cannot be considered a crime as online content can easily change.
The group called on the government and society to recognise that exchanges through social networks are a form of information sharing and that any attempt to cripple or instil fear in people who may want to share information is detrimental to Thai society’s creativity, innovation, economy and learning opportunities. 
The report cited China’s failure to totally block all anti-Chinese content on the Internet despite huge investment in the attempt.
It also urges the courts not to indefinitely block websites deemed offensive to the monarchy, but to review the content again after a certain period of time.
“Netizens ought to realise that the Internet is a space for knowledge and diverse views. The Internet contains things that all of us will hate, one way or another. Blocking things you dislike will eventually lead to the total shutdown of the Internet,” the TNN report stated. 
“The most appropriate way to deal with content that you dislike on the Internet is to be patient.”

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