Thai Gov't Accused Of Instituting Mass Internet Surveillance... To See If You're Reading Anything The King Doesn't Like
from the big-brother-with-a-chip-on-his-shoulder dept
So, perhaps it shouldn't be that surprising that a Thai news organization is reporting that the government is now planning on using mass internet surveillance to make sure that no one is even reading anything that the king doesn't like, which would violate those lèse majesté laws.
Thai authorities reportedly planned to implement a surveillance device starting from 15 September to sniff out Thai Internet users, specifically targeting those producing and reading lèse majesté content, a report says.... One said the device targets keywords related to lèse majesté and that it is relatively powerful and could access all kinds of communication traffic on the internet. Another source said it could even monitor communications using secured protocols.That last bit seems highly questionable. If done right, encryption would make that kind of surveillance nearly impossible, so the idea that whatever system they're using could actually do that should be taken skeptically. Of course, it could just be that the government is leaking these claims to lead people to self-censor in the belief that they are being watched, even if it's not true. And if that's the plan, it appears to already be working.
After learning about this, a national level Thai-language newspaper editorial team has reluctantly resorted to a policy of greater self-censorship. Its editor warned editorial staff not to browse any lèse majesté website at work and think twice before reporting any story related to lèse majesté.Of course, as we noted earlier this year, the leaders of the recent Thai coup have already been big on censoring the internet, and a law passed back in May lets the government "monitor and access the computer traffic, the use of websites, social media, photos, text, video and audio... which are deemed unlawful" and further to "stop the dissemination" of any such website. It appears these latest rumors are just taking it up a notch.
Of course, the chilling effects and impact on free speech of even rumors of such a system should be frightening to anyone who believes in free speech and an open internet where people can discuss things freely.