On November 14, 2023, Thailand’s Personal Data Protection Committee (PDPC) published a draft notification on collection of personal data regarding criminal records. The draft notification aims to provide clarifications and prescribe further criteria for processing criminal record data under the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA), which generally requires the processing of criminal records to be carried out under the control of the relevant official authority under the law or under a data protection measure implemented according to rules prescribed by the PDPC.

After its eventual passage, the draft notification will have important implications for businesses’ recruitment and human resources activities in relation to individuals with criminal records.

Key aspects of the draft notification include the following:

  • “Personal data regarding a criminal record” and “criminal record data” denote personal data related to the investigations of criminal offenses, criminal prosecution, or criminal punishment that is official information or certified by the relevant supervisory authority, regardless of whether that action is connected to a final judgment.
  • Under the draft notification, data controllers may process criminal record data for the purpose of a recruitment process, checking the qualifications of personnel, and considering the suitability of a person for a position if the processing activities are required by law or when a data controller obtains explicit consent from the data subject. Furthermore, the necessity of processing the criminal record data must be announced at the beginning of the recruitment process.
  • Data controllers’ requests for explicit consent to collect a data subject’s criminal record data must also notify the data subject of the consequences of not providing consent or withdrawing consent.
  • The draft notification sets the allowable retention period for criminal record data at a maximum of six months from the end of the processing activities specified above. After the retention period ends, the criminal record data must be deleted, destroyed, or anonymized using an appropriate method.

The draft notification is open for a public hearing period until November 28, 2023.