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Mor Chana app - what does the law actually say?


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My wife received a phone call from her sister who was going to the garage to get her car repaired. It seems the sisters (in their 40's and 50's) were stopped by a police checkpoint. This was somewhere in the Rangsit side of Bangkok I believe. The police demanded to know if they had the Mor Chana app installed on their phones, and told them that it was a 200,000 baht fine and 2 years in prison if they did not have the app.

 

Apparently the older sister did have the app and had to show her phone to the police to prove it.

 

So I want to know were these police officers correct in law - 2 years in prison and 200,000 baht fine if the app was not installed, or - as I believe - wrong because it is NOT an offence not to have the app on a phone although if one does not and subsequently got infected that might be an offence - IF one had a phone?

 

My phone is in my wife's name although of course I pay the bills. My personal view is that if I went somewhere I don't care if the police know where I went BUT if the app is used for more serious snooping then I prefer to advise them in the vernacular for "go have sex and travel". Big Brother is for fiction - not for real life!

 

So I do not want the app thank you very much, not that we go anywhere apart from Big C and the local wet market, but my phone has my UK and Thai banking apps on it and other private stuff and I do not want the police, well known for criminal activities and corruption, gaining access to it. Being assured that neither will nor can happen is not comforting. And as it is an older phone installing another app would mean getting rid of a more useful one.

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have a look at this thread (not so much the article itself) - 

If you can find it there was another news item about the govt. retracting the statement about it being compulsory as of course many lower paid Thais don't necessarily own a smart phone or have internet access.

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57 minutes ago, cliveshep said:

I'll not dump my banking or mapping apps or LINE in order to install something that snoops on me. I've got an old Samsung J2 that has served me well for some years and no inclination to change it, it has precious little memory anyway, most of which seems to be hogged by the OS. Access to my phone would reveal passwords, bank details, tax details etc none of which are any business of the Thai Government so they can go pee up a rope on that one I think.

 

It still seems an optional extra so I decline as in Sect. 4 of their T's & C's  - I trust none of their promises and in any event all their promises are subject to "National Security" and we all know what that means - forget the promises.

 

I am 100% in agreement regarding the "trust" issue. That said, and I can only speak about iOS on my iPhone, but I believe the same is true under Android, apps are "sandboxed", and cannot access the data stored by other apps. In other words MorChana cannot read passwords you have stored in a password keeper app, or see the logins you use in other apps, or access documents you have saved in other apps. But, that does not prevent things like clipboards from being accessed, which, if you are not cautious, might temporarily contain sensitive information. Furthermore, if you are not careful, it is easy to allow access to your photos, mic, camera, gps, etc. The apps are not on my phone. I manually sign the log books at each place I visit. I am quite happy to work with the government in their efforts to contain the virus, but I don't like installing more apps, and I don't have any confidence in Thai government apps, with regards to privacy, stability, or any other aspect.

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On 1/22/2021 at 12:56 PM, cliveshep said:

So I want to know were these police officers correct in law - 2 years in prison and 200,000 baht fine if the app was not installed, or - as I believe - wrong because it is NOT an offence not to have the app on a phone although if one does not and subsequently got infected that might be an offence - IF one had a phone?

First it was announced that the app was mandatory, soon after it was not, as not everybody has a smart phone (or data subscription), but some kind of registering is compulsory.

 

The fine mentioned is 40,000 baht for covering up one's travel history, app or not.

 

Quote

On Thursday, CCSA spokesman Dr Taweesilp Visanuyothin switched from recommending MorChana to suggesting its use was mandatory in Thailand, warning of severe punishment for those who refused to obey. However, after loud public complaints that the move invaded privacy and was unfair to those who don’t own a smartphone, Taweesilp quickly backtracked.

 

Authorities subsequently made clear that while they strongly recommend the use of MorChana, no one would be punished for not downloading the app.

Source: Thai PBS "A closer look at Thailand’s (non-mandatory) contact tracing apps".

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Food for thought: Let's say you install the app and use it conscientiously, then someone comes down with Covid in a place you had also visited. Will you then be required to go into quarantine?

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46 minutes ago, J Town said:

Food for thought: Let's say you install the app and use it conscientiously, then someone comes down with Covid in a place you had also visited. Will you then be required to go into quarantine?

Yes.

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I have the app, but it does not work as my phone has no internet connection without wi fi.

 

So is it compulsory to have a phone contract and internet connection?

 

I just use the wi fi in the shops I go to. But some don't have it. Also have to get into the shopping center first before connecting. So I just wrote down my number in the book....with the pen that everybody else has been touching. 

 

Many times I don't even take the phone out with me. Is it legal to never have it off your person? 

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Just now, jak2002003 said:

I have the app, but it does not work as my phone has no internet connection without wi fi.

 

So is it compulsory to have a phone contract and internet connection?

 

I just use the wi fi in the shops I go to. But some don't have it. Also have to get into the shopping center first before connecting. So I just wrote down my number in the book....with the pen that everybody else has been touching. 

 

Many times I don't even take the phone out with me. Is it legal to never have it off your person? 

Knowing how pedantic the local authorities can be, I suspect they want you to have it at all times. My personal plan is to have it on my phone but never use it for fear of being forced into quarantine. That way, if I'm ever stopped at a checkpoint, I can show them as a dutiful citizen I am sporting the app.

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