Thailand Continues To Try To Mimic China With Internet Censorship

from the good-luck-with-that dept

In early 2007, some Thai government officials totally overreacted to a silly video making fun of Thailand's king, and banned all of YouTube. Of course, the inevitable result wasn't that the video went away, but that it got a lot more attention both inside and outside of Thailand thanks to the futile attempt to ban it. Since then, it's clear that Thai officials have not learned their lesson. Over and over again we've seen reports of Thailand banning certain websites -- often political discussion sites -- because the government officials don't like what's being said. The government even passed a law making it illegal to try to circumvent these blocks to get at any banned website.

And, once again, all this is doing is drawing more interest in the blocked sites. The latest report is that the gov't has demanded that ISPs block hundreds of sites that it doesn't like for whatever reason. Perhaps in blocking so many sites at once, it's hoping that the details of why get lost in the mix, but it hardly seems likely to be all that effective in the long run. While some may compare the situation to China and its Great Firewall, considering the massive bureaucracy that involves tens of thousands of people to manage the Great Firewall, it may be difficult for Thailand to effectively replicate it.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    shanoboy, Sep 4th, 2008 @ 5:23am

    pointless

    It really is pointless for government to ban sites. I truly believe all it really does is force even the average net users to become experts at circumventing their censorship technology.

    Even here at work I've spent considerable time looking for holes in their filtering software just our of curiosity. And guess what, I found some!

    Imagine what someone could do if they were really intent on circumventing my offices proxy.

     

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  2.  
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    wasnt me!, Sep 4th, 2008 @ 5:42am

    why not just ban Internet access in Thailand

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2008 @ 6:14am

    circumvention

    What is the penality - caning ?

     

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  4.  
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    Overcast, Sep 4th, 2008 @ 6:40am

    It really is pointless for government to ban sites. I truly believe all it really does is force even the average net users to become experts at circumventing their censorship technology.

    Even here at work I've spent considerable time looking for holes in their filtering software just our of curiosity. And guess what, I found some!

    Imagine what someone could do if they were really intent on circumventing my offices proxy.


    Good point, and there will ALWAYS be hacks for this sort of stuff - the companies who make these 'blocking' products are in it for money - the people making ways around them do it for a hobby - or an obsession. The money crowd goes home at 5, and could care less about the project, the other crowd is up drinking mountain dew at 2AM still hacking away at it.

    Some company needs to pop up and start offering VPN tunnels for a small fee to 'unblocked' Internet Access. Then they'd have to decrypt the VPN data to even see what's out there. Surprised that hasn't been done yet.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2008 @ 7:17am

    Re:

    "The money crowd goes home at 5, and could care less about the project, the other crowd is up drinking mountain dew at 2AM still hacking away at it. "


    Dont forget too that like the DRM racket, these guys make money by creating a product that doesnt really work. Thereby necessitating MORE of itself.

     

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  6.  
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    dorpus, Sep 4th, 2008 @ 7:34am

    But do they want democracy?

    Thailand is a country where all parties accuse each other of "disloyalty to the King", and nobody is interested in changing this. The "demonstrators" are hired goons paid 500 bhat a month by politicians. Whichever party takes over the government will assign their own legislators without elections, claiming "emergency powers". The common people treat regime changes as a vacation opportunity to loot stores, ride their motorcycles around the city, and give their proud little speeches in front of Western TV cameras. Nobody really cares about human rights.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2008 @ 7:41am

    Re: pointless

    all banning is truly pointless. all it achieves is getting the banned item more attention.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2008 @ 7:42am

    Who else would they mimic . . .

    news flash . . . they ARE CHINEASE!

     

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  9.  
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    Jake, Sep 4th, 2008 @ 8:07am

    Re: But do they want democracy?

    Are we so different? Playing the nationalism card to silence or discredit dissenting voices is hardly unheard of in the Western world, and our prevailing political culture seems to view due process of law as an obstacle in the path of... well, I don't know what, exactly; cheap oil, probably, or just lots of dead darkies in the case of our more populist newspapers over here in Britain. And yet the overwhelming grassroots response has been complete apathy.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2008 @ 8:14am

    Re: Who else would they mimic . . .

    no they aren't and you are stupid for thinking so.

    there is a difference between the Taiwanese and Chinese Cultures. what you are suggesting is that Canada, the Irish, Scots, English, and Americans are all the same just because they look similiar

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2008 @ 8:39am

    Re: Re: Who else would they mimic . . .

    "there is a difference between the Taiwanese and Chinese Cultures. what you are suggesting is that Canada, the Irish, Scots, English, and Americans are all the same just because they look similiar"

    It has nothing to do with "looks", I’m just responding to this idea that these artificial boarders we put around the world somehow suddenly make people different. Iran and Iraq, the same people, Pakistan and India, the same people, Jordan and Israel the same people (except for the large influx of Europeans to Israel). I would also say yes; Canadians, Scots, Irish, English and Americans are largely the same people (and I mean aside from the very obvious fact that we speak the same language). What I am talking about here has nothing to do with looks, its shared ideas, history and experience that forms culture (not lines on the map, jingoistic slogans or seats at the UN).

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2008 @ 9:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Who else would they mimic . . .

    What I am talking about here has nothing to do with looks, its shared ideas, history and experience that forms culture (not lines on the map, jingoistic slogans or seats at the UN).

    (before I start I want to apologize for my harsh words earlier, some meaning obviously got lost in the process and I overreacted)

    I'll agree with you there, but I argue that the Taiwanese have a culture unique to them, different than the chinese, just like the English and American Cultures have different belief sets and views.

    another problem is that, quite often (such as with the middle east), even within a supposed border there is more than one culture and these cultures hold such vastly different belief sets that they self-segregate simple because they don't agree with the other belief sets at all. the Irish Catholic, Mormon, Jehovah's Witnesses, and 7th day Adventists (to name just a few) do the same thing in America, there there are the Chinese districts and similar cultural neighborhoods

     

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  13.  
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    jazz, Sep 4th, 2008 @ 9:20am

    wtf

    the goverment is acting childish just bacause some one makes fun of you you cant just distoroy the internet

     

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  14.  
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    me!, Sep 4th, 2008 @ 9:22am

    there still gonna get access to wat ever they want

     

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  15.  
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    girliegirl, Sep 4th, 2008 @ 9:26am

    Re:

    true................


    pple shud have democracy also

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2008 @ 10:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Who else would they mimic . . .

    "I'll agree with you there, but I argue that the Taiwanese have a culture unique to them, different than the chinese, just like the English and American Cultures have different belief sets and views."


    Really we largely agree, certainly there are cultural differences, disagreements among these two groups. Really though there are disagreements among family members but it doesn’t define them as separate cultures. All I was really trying to say is that this larger group of people who have lived together in this area of Asia share some similar values and these are different than the ones WE in some western countries may have. There are certain issues around personal "liberty" or "freedom" where they may be willing as a society to draw the line in a different place then we do. I'm not sure there is anything inherently wrong with that.

     

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  17.  
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    Allen (profile), Sep 4th, 2008 @ 10:57pm

    Mimic China?

    I think you give China too much credit here. Those in authority have been trying to suppress ideas they object to since the beginning of time. And governments have been trying to censor the internet since they became aware that it existed. The Thai authorities are not the first to struggle with the concept that censoring the internet is difficult/pointless and wont be the last.

     

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