dtac says the time for strong data privacy in Thailand is now

The year 2020 triggered a seismic shift in our relationship with the online world. With COVID-19, more people are working from home and connecting online with loved ones they can no longer meet in person. But just as reliance on connectivity grows, so do concerns about data privacy.

“As more businesses and people moved into the digital world, we’ve seen a change in how they viewed the online environment,” said Marcus Adaktusson, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at dtac. “They are increasingly concerned about their privacy.”

In Cisco’s 2020 Consumer Privacy Survey, 60 percent of respondents expressed concerns about their data being protected in the tools they are using while remote working or learning. The top three concerns were that the data will be used for unrelated purposes, that the data will be shared too broadly with third parties, and that the data will not be deleted or anonymized.

Furthermore, 29 percent of those surveyed said they would switch brands due to data practices. This growing demographic of ‘privacy actives’ signals a shift in consumer attitudes globally about how their data is used and what control they have over their privacy.

“Privacy issues are a growing concern for customers. But it’s often an overlooked aspect of the new normal for businesses as they scramble to grow their digital channels,” said Mr. Adaktusson. “It’s very challenging to do both at the same time.”

Privacy Versus Relevance

dtac, too, has seen both growing data usage by its customers and growth in customers’ usage of digital service channels to replace face-to-face interactions.

“Keeping our customers’ data secure is of utmost importance. The concept of personal data protection and privacy goes beyond just safeguarding data from cybersecurity. It means rethinking how we use our customers’ data to ensure that they have the level of privacy they wish, while providing the services that they require,” Mr. Adaktusson stressed.

dtac has undertaken a comprehensive review of how personal data traverses through its internal processes, where it is used, and why. Throughout the data’s journey, customer consent is the starting point and one of key privacy principles.

A Global Initiative

To better ensure customers’ privacy, dtac also took learnings from other markets, mainly Europe where the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was implemented in 2018.

“Taking learnings from other markets allows us to assess what tools we can use to improve our practices, how we can better monitor data usage in the organization, and which internal policies are required to support a pro-privacy business culture,” said Mr. Adaktusson.

While dtac’s Chief Corporate Affairs Officer concedes stricter privacy standards can be challenging to implement, he also believes customer expectations are set to keep increasing in this domain.

“There is a strong business imperative to improve our practices and earn our customers’ trust. I’m proud of the steps we have taken so far, and we are looking forward to continuing this journey and working with our partners in government and civil society to ensure that the PDPA becomes an integral tool for the business world in building stronger relationships with customers,” Mr. Adaktusson added.


PDPA Today

Due to the impact of COVID-19 on the Thai economy, the cabinet has twice postponed the full effective date of the Personal Data Privacy Act in Thailand. It is now set to June 2022.

“dtac embraces the PDPA as a tool that we can use to help guide the development of privacy practices and improve our relationship with our customers,” said Mr. Adaktusson.

Thus, dtac has already adopted its own internal policies that govern how to use personal data, and when dtac should seek customer consent to use their data.

“dtac welcomes the implementation of a national structure and framework around personal data use and pro-privacy business practices,” said Mr. Adaktusson, adding that the government should take an equally holistic approach in implementing the new legislation, even it has been delayed for another year.

“If the standards and expectations are clear and well defined, it will also support a better understanding from consumers as to how their data is used,” he concluded.