ECD Police use social media and technology to ramp up crackdown on companies using unlicensed software
BANGKOK, 29 September, 2015 – The Thai Economic Crime Suppression Division (ECD) updated the results of software piracy suppression and announced a new Software Piracy Crackdown in 2015, dubbed “Crackdown 2.0” for its use of digital technology to educate business people about the risks of unlicensed software and gather intelligence about companies violating the law.
Leveraging social media to gather intelligence and target all business sectors, ECD projects to increase total raids of businesses that infringe software copyrights by 20 percent in 2015 over last year’s results. ECD says they will continue this positive momentum into the next year.
Software piracy 2015 update
Supporting the Government mission to create a sustainable digital economy for Thailand, the Economic Crime Suppression Division (ECD) of the Royal Thai Police has continued to intensify its war on software piracy in 2015. The crackdown 2.0 will target all businesses suspected of using illegal software, and will place special emphasis on helping companies understand the dangerous link between unlicensed software and cyber-crime.
ECD September 2015 data revealed 166 ECD raids in 2015 with an infringement value of 358 million THB. The frequency of raids in 2015 to date represented a 20% increase on 2014.
So far this year, the industries raided were predominantly manufacturing (34%) and construction and design (32%). Other industries featured distributor and wholesale (7%); engineering (7%); real estate (4%); IT & telecommunications (2%) and others 14%. The shareholders of raid companies included 83.15% Thai; South Korean 1.20%; Chinese 0.60% and joint ventures 15.05%.
Expanded use of digital media and Thai public support have helped police to increase the effectiveness of law enforcement versus companies and organizations using unlicensed software. ECD police have developed communication approaches using hotlines, websites and social media to engage and educate the public and business about the risks of unlicensed software. These digital channels have allowed the public to actively report software piracy related crimes within corporate end-users.
Previous crackdowns on corporate software piracy focused on the manufacturing and construction sectors. The dragnet widened in 2015 to include all businesses regardless of size. This has included all business organizations using unlicensed software.
The crackdown on unlicensed software tackles the correlation between software piracy and the prevalence of malware and cyber threats. Use of legal licensed software ensures a good first line of defense and reduces vulnerability against cyber attack. Companies using unlicensed software are putting their data and finances at risk. According to a recent report by IDC, upwards of 70 percent of illegal software is loaded with Malware, which can lead to banking and financial fraud, data theft, e-commerce fraud and a variety of other issues.
Unlicensed software and company IT security
Speaking about the 2015 raids, the ECD Deputy Commander, Police Colonel Dr. Kittisak Plathong, commented that, “a projected 20% increase in raids in 2015 demonstrates our continuing commitment to actively fight software piracy and educate the public and companies on the tangible risks associated with using illegal software. Given that we have reduced software piracy significantly over the last eight years, a 20 percent increase in enforcement this year is substantial.”
Police Colonel Dr. Kittisak explained that, “greater use of communication channels, including websites, a hotline and social media, including Facebook, and engagement with the Thai public, have allowed us to increase our targeting of all businesses using unlicensed software; not only corporations, but also SMEs.”
Police Colonel Dr. Kittisak noted that, “tackling software piracy remains a core ECD objective that if unaddressed, could harm Thailand’s growing digital industries and represent a security risk to business.”
The ECD Deputy Commander commented that, “pirate software impacts companies regardless of size. Viruses or malware makes personal and confidential information vulnerable and can cause critical operational failures. We encourage CEOs and managers in all companies and organizations to be educated on the very real dangers of unlicensed software, and to ensure that their organizations protect themselves from the growing danger of cyber crime by using licensed software”.
Police Colonel Dr. Kittisak noted that ECD action against companies using unlicensed software would continue. “We are enforcing the rule of law and protecting software developers’ copyrights. Use of unlicensed software is a form of theft and Thai software companies are also hurt by software piracy. Those companies that fail to self-regulate and comply, risk being raided. And as our engagement with the Thai public on this important issue grows, so does the probability of the parties using pirate software being caught.”
Finally Police Colonel Dr. Kittisak thanked the Thai public for coming forward to report instances of software piracy. He said, “increased use of reporting channels, including social media, have empowered the Thai public to report use of unlicensed software. We are thankful to the Thai public and encourage them to keep helping us enforce the rule of law and protect Thailand’s cyber security.”