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PM cuts back on social updates

Hacked Twitter account shut as ICT Ministry probes violation

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra decided to terminate her Twitter account @PouYingluck after it was hacked on Sunday, ICT Minister Anudith Nakornthap said yesterday.

Anudith said there now was only one social-network channel that Yingluck still uses to communicate with the people, which is her Facebook page under the account Y.Shinawatra.

The information and communications technology minister said authorities had many clues to identify who hacked the PM's Twitter account.

They expected to bring the hacker to justice eventually under the Computer Crime Act 2007, Articles 5, 7, 9, and 14. Anudith said a hacker violating computer laws could face a prison term of not more than five years or a fine of not more than Bt100,000, or both.

"We have asked for information from the Twitter service provider overseas to investigate this case. It is expected we will find out who did it," Anudith said.

He said that personally, he thought the hacker might be a person who does not admire the government's policies rather than one who aims to discredit the government over its information-security protection.

However, Anudith said the government had not set up a "special dedicated team" to oversee investigation of this case, but would treat it as any other computer crime.

He said this hacker stole the Yingluck's e-mail password and then passed it through the PM's Twitter account to change the passwords of both accounts.

"We acknowledge the hacker did it over the mobile-phone network, and we are investigating this and will finalise which mobile network."

He added that authorities had not overlooked investigation of the internal staff, since apart from the prime minister herself, there are team members familiar with the password.

Anudith said any case against an accused hacker would depend on evidence.

The minister said it was not surprising that the Twitter account had been hacked; even US President Barack Obama's account had been hacked two years ago. He urged other social networkers with a similar problem to alert the authorities.

The government will use this case to move forward the draft of its new computer-crime legislation, which is now with the ICT Ministry. The ministry will set up a committee to revise the draft again, since there are issues still needing adjustment.

The ICT minister said this hacker case would affect the budget allocation for IT security, giving it more priority than in the past.


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