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Cambodia Technology Adviser Criticizes Cybercrime Draft Law

FILE - Cambodian men use the internet at a cofee shop in Phnom Penh.
FILE - Cambodian men use the internet at a cofee shop in Phnom Penh.
A senior Cambodian government adviser on information technology says a draft cybercrime law is unnecessary and could lead to demonstrations and unrest if passed as currently written.

Phu Leewood says the current criminal code can be used to prosecute offenders, so a separate law is not needed.

He adds that the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, which drafted the law, should have had a public comment period and consulted with civic organizations.

“If there is no such process, it means Cambodian voices are ignored,” he said. “If such a law is passed, there will be strong reaction from the public, as it hasn’t been involved.”

He adds the law was written by people who lack technical knowledge, and without consultations with legal experts, judges or prosecutors.

Government officials have not been available for comment on the draft law, which was publicized online last week by the Cambodian Center for Human Rights. Chak Sopheap, the center's executive director, says the law, if passed in its current form, will be dangerous to free speech.

Critics say the draft law, made public last week, has vague language that could be abused by authorities and lead to curbs of online freedoms.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Khmer service.