Thailand Sliding Down The Slippery Slope Of Net Censorship

from the long-live-the-king dept

The Thai sure do love their king; anyone who has visited on a Monday surely has noticed the sea of yellow shirts in celebration of the King's birthday, which falls on a Monday. So great is their love for him, that it is a crime to say anything bad about him or the government. So, when a message board on sameskybooks.org (not sameskybooks.com, as incorrectly reported by the AP) criticized the monarchy, Thai officials shut down the political website, first threatening to shut down its ISP, Netservice. Although the site in question was indeed a radical political website, the content for which the site was shut down came from a public message board. Should a site be held accountable for posts that they did not create? Well, this is not the first time the Thai government has banned a site in such a way -- back in April, Thailand banned all of YouTube for a supposedly offensive video. What's next? The Bangkok Post has written up the story, should it be banned as well?


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  1.  
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    bubba, Jan 8th, 2008 @ 4:28am

    the king of thailand does suck...

    one of those people that feels all goody goody helping a guy here a gal there from his palaces, yet millions live in poverty and misery.

    will they take techdirt down now? let us see...

     

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  2.  
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    GeneralEmergency (profile), Jan 8th, 2008 @ 4:43am

    The King?? The King of Thailand???

    Hey, that guy owes me $25!

    I've called him ten times in the last two months and whenever someone does pick up, I keep getting the same old "He's out washing his Elephants" line.

    Man, I am so Cheesed.

    A word of advice... Never, ever, loan the King of Thailand money for hookers.

     

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  3.  
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    GeneralEmergency (profile), Jan 8th, 2008 @ 4:51am

    Another thing about the King of Thailand...

    Back when we was cool and hangin' together, everytime he'd get good and coked up, that crazy so-an-so would spend about two god damned hours doing nothin but insulting Turkishness.

    You should have heard some of that blisterin sh*t he layed down about Ataturk.

    Burns my ears just rememberin some of it!

     

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  4.  
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    Dick, Jan 8th, 2008 @ 5:28am

    Comments

    TechDirt: The stories are non-tech and the comments are dirt.

     

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  5.  
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    Bored, Jan 8th, 2008 @ 5:36am

    Comments 2

    The article IS somewhat Tech related, and I agree, the comments ARE dirt.

     

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  6.  
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    Just Me, Jan 8th, 2008 @ 6:19am

    TechDirt

    Seems this has been covered before; the article is about censorship on the web therefore is the dirt of tech.

    As for the comments; yes they are a little low-brow but as mentioned in this article can you really hold TD accountable for the comments of a few members of the public?

     

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  7.  
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    ReallyEvilCanine, Jan 8th, 2008 @ 6:19am

    Not alone

    Germany has a screwed up law (Telemediengesetz) which is used by anyone upset by anything posted on a forum. The owner of a forum can be hauled into court by anyone making a complaint and fined for copyright infringement, slander, and a few other odd German complaints. Because of how poorly the law is written (and how it applies to the Net in general), it's a crap shoot. No judge in any state is bound to any other judge's opinion in such a matter.

    Case in point: on an ex-pat's forum a few years ago, someone posted a helpful follow-up which included a map. The map was around 120px², cut out of a screenshot from $GermanMapCo's site. The same day, $GermanMapCo's lawyer called up demanding not just a take-down of the graphic (which the admins had done within a couple hours) but also demanded a few hundred for the copyright infringement. It was more sensible to pay than risk court.


    We also have a Department of Won't Somebody Think of the Children (Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Schriften [BPjS]) which can blacklist sites jast as they do with books, films and games. If something's "indexed", it can be sold but not displayed, not even in stores which refuse admission to minors.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 8th, 2008 @ 6:39am

    Thailand slipping into full dictatorship

    It's much worse than that.

    TRT was Thaksins party, the one kicked out by the coup. They would hold ralleys, give out 500Baht a person (about $15) for attending and give political speeches. This was considered vote buying.

    So the coup happens, TRT is outlawed, Thaksin leaves, and a year passed. We have a new election, this time TRT is a new party called PPP. PPP also holds these ralleys, this time without the money.

    Army generals order their men to vote Democratic party. Somehow this isn't considered to an attempt to corrupt the voting. Soldiers largely ignore this order and many vote PPP.

    PPP still wins. Army has no authority, people still vote PPP. Army starts blacklisting PPP party members for illegal campaigning, i.e. it's trying to force the vote it's way.

    At this point, general Sonthi Boonyaratglin represents a serious threat to ordinary Thais. They don't want him, didn't vote for him and he's achieved nothing, no peace in the south, no financial benefit and the PPP still won anyway. Now he's trying to cement himself in power by nullifying the PPP's win.

    The army will either end up shooting him (hopefully) or shooting the people. But there can't be a situation that ends with PPP in power and him a general.

    If he nullifies PPP, ordinary Thais (including the army will take to the streets like they did in 91), if he doesn't nullify the vote, he'll end up in jail or worse.

    The only thing holding things peaceful is an 80 year old king. The reverence you see is part reverence for peace. If Thais let people criticize the King, then his word is lessened and peace less likely. He is also the only saviour for the army coup leaders, once he's dead they know they're as good as dead.

    So 'we love the king', because he's the man holding an uneasy peace between the people and the army and he's a frail 80 year old man clinging to his life.

     

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  9.  
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    Overcast, Jan 8th, 2008 @ 6:58am

    Of course.

    They want all media - web based or not, all parties involved to get used to draconian control laws. Just like Nazi germany - those who rat out others have nothing to worry about. Only people who 'go against the state'... well... they best watch out!

    Seems to be happening everywhere really. Just at a different pace. Some smaller nations - it's faster. In the US/Europe - it's just moving 1/4 speed.

     

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  10.  
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    ReallyEvilCanine, Jan 8th, 2008 @ 7:08am

    Godwin

    Fuck off with your Nazi claims, Overcast. The US and UK currently suffer much more draconian governments; Germany has privacy and data protection for starters. The Index is an annoyance and the problem with the law is a matter of bad, unclear legislation which was passed about two weeks after the US' much worse DMCA. The only saving grace of the DMCA is the Safe Harbour clause which German law lacks. All sectors in the IT industry are asking for the law to be amended or replaced.

    The problem we have here isn't primarily government-enforced censorship, it's government-enforced copyright laws remedies and the general concept of Haftung or responsibility, the two of which scumbag lawyers and companies abuse in order to cash in.

     

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  11.  
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    Ace Rimmer, Jan 9th, 2008 @ 7:19pm

    Re: Comments

    While I agree there are comments posted on this site that would be better off left in the writers head... Other comments are actually quite informative... best advice I could give is to just pass over the silly ones and read the ones that count... just a thought...

     

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  12.  
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    Ace Rimmer, Jan 9th, 2008 @ 7:32pm

    Re: Godwin

    Its not just the lawyers cashing in... Governments screw up things on behalf of companys... increases in the cost of living in the area I live have increased so badly that it has actually change the "class" that people fall under...IE: upper middle class is now middle class and so on
    all started by governments trying to save a buck... people are so fed up that the last leader of our provincial government was actually voted in with about 10% of the populations vote... rents have increased 100% in a year in some cases... news that the government was looking at a way to regulate this problem caused landlords to increase costs as high as the could as fast as they could before the regulations were sorted out... by the time the regulations were in place... it was too little too late... not that the regulations mattered... they state the landlords can increase up to $400.00 per year... in general... people in power have generally gotten greedy over the last few years...

     

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  13.  
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    michael, Nov 30th, 2008 @ 5:46pm

    thailand a basket case

    I have read so much on the subject of Thailand in the last week or so I thought I'd offer my thoughts as a person who has recently spent six months travelling all around Thailand.
    The problem is simple in Thailand, Thaksin tried to reform the country by giving to the people. What he and his party have tried to do is to break the monopoly of the super rich in Thailand. You will not see many normal Thai's on any web site's as they are poor and mostly un-educated with little English. This problem is trying to be addressed by the People's Power Party (A government elected by the people of Thailand). This party wishes to provide health care and education for the poor of Thailand. If you've ever visited these places as I have you will understand the poverty that exists in this part of the world. I say shame on the rich of Thailand who are trying to suppress the mass population of Thailand in favor of their own agenda's. The elite of Thailand are backed by the royal family who are portrayed as being a very poor family in Thailand and the propaganda machine which leaks good stories of this family is crazy. The king is listed as one of the richest people in the world with a fortune of over 35 billion dollars under his control according to Forbes. This king and his royal supporters do not allow any decent on their person and so people can only read of the kings good deeds and nothing of his fortune or the fact he was not born in Thailand but the USA educated in Switzerland and the rumor he actually killed his own brother to claim the crown has a lot of credence. The vested interests in Thailand are controlled by the wealthy and for the wealthy. Its Ironic when a government like Thaksin's was reforming the conditions of the poor in Thailand he was seen as a treat to the country. His own court case was a joke and if his crime was only based on a perception of a certain moral integrity I believe we should throw away the keys and lock up all the public life figures in the UK and Ireland. This case shows up the Thai banana republic with its corrupt systems for what it is. Sorry for ram belling on but remember one thing if you are visiting Thailand you can not discuss the king or the PAD in a negative light or you may find your self in custody but you can rap on the knuckles all those poor and deprived in Thailand who are forced to live in abject poverty. This circus now taking place at the airport is nothing to do with defending Thailand but more to allow the elite to hold onto the power reigns and to keep the poor of Thailand poor.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2013 @ 12:42pm

    Not just the king bud. EVERYTHING. Let's see how long I remain in the 'Kingdom' after this...

     

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