Thailand Decides To Make Its Terrible Cybersecurity Law Even Worse

from the this-baby-can-hold-so-many-domestic-surveillance-programs dept

More censorship and encryption-breaking is on the way, thanks to the Thai government's broad interpretation of the term "cybersecurity." The government has been leaning heavily on American social media companies to disappear content critical of… you guessed it, the government. To keep the king from being insulted too often (or for too long), the government is also exploring undermining website encryption and holding service providers directly (and criminally) responsible for the words and deeds of their users.

Another round of amendments has made Thailand's cybersecurity law worse. It seems almost impossible, given its history. And yet here we are, watching as the government gives itself everything it wants, leaving citizens with the dubious privilege of generating tons of data the government can access at will.

The bill (available in Thai) was amended late last year following criticism over potential data access, but it passed the country’s parliament with 133 positives votes and no rejections, although there were 16 absentees.

There are concerns around a number of clauses, chiefly the potential for the government — which came to power via a military coup in 2014 — to search and seize data and equipment in cases that are deemed issues of national emergency. That could enable internet traffic monitoring and access to private data, including communications, without a court order.

Naturally, everyone but the government is concerned about these amendments. The Asia Internet Coalition has issued a statement expressing these concerns. All of its concerns are valid. And, considering the history of this law and this government, all are likely to be ignored.

The bugs listed in the AIC's statement are considered features by a government that has a long history of silencing dissent and jailing critics.

Protecting online security is a top priority; however, the Law’s ambiguously defined scope, vague language and lack of safeguards raises serious privacy concerns for both individuals and businesses, especially provisions that allow overreaching authority to search and seize data and electronic equipment without proper legal oversight. This would give the regime sweeping powers to monitor online traffic in the name of an emergency or as a preventive measure, potentially compromising private and corporate data.

Vague language and a lack of safeguards. Overreaching authority and lack of oversight. That's exactly what the Thai government wants. This is deliberate. This is what's wanted by governments all over the world. The US government wants this. So does the Australian government. The UK government has spent most of the past decade refining its overreach and scaling back its oversight.

This isn't just a Thai problem. It's a government problem. But the Thai problem is made worse by its disturbing (and ancient) lese majeste laws, which add some old school twists to its cyber pretensions. But the script is otherwise identical: the same ideas pushed by other governments, using the same "security" pitch to strip citizens of their protections and privacy.

Filed Under: censorship, cybersecurity, encryption, thailand


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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2019 @ 4:13am

    Section 230 strips Americans of their right to protect their reputations against even one anonymous poster with an axe to grind who can weaponize search engines.

    Thailand is a sovereign nation, free to make its own laws.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 11 Mar 2019 @ 4:34am

      Re:

      "Section 230 strips Americans of their right to protect their reputations"

      Horseshit. The only thing it does is force you to go after the person who actually did the thing you're whining about rather than the nearest cash rich bystander. Nothing stops you from going after the person who did the deed.

      "Thailand is a sovereign nation, free to make its own laws."

      ...and Tim is currently free to criticise them if he believes they are making the wrong choice. Are you saying that his freedom should be curtailed because he's speaking his mind?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2019 @ 5:51am

        Re: Re:

        "Nothing stops you from going after the person who did the deed."

        Unless they are dead, judgment-proof, in another country, posting anonymously (from a "burner" IP), or there are thirty of them spread out making it impossible to sue, using an anonymous remailer, etc. As noted with copyright law, having to prosecute repeated defamation cases against judgment-proof individuals is practically impossible, and extremely burdensome. Then there's the issue of search engines and websites not even being required to remove the defamatory content.

        Of course, you can pretend that none of this exists, but it does. Female victims of revenge porn could school you on the horrors of Section 230, as they are very sympathetic, and one of the reasons momentum is gaining to get rid of a law that has no equivalent in the rest of the western world.

        America commits many atrocities against its citizens. It has no moral standing to be the judge of other nations, or the world's police.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 11 Mar 2019 @ 6:28am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Of course, you can pretend that none of this exists"

          I do no such thing. I just think that time is better spent going after the people who did things, rather than people who had nothing to do with it.

          You want to hide the crime, I'm saying go after the ones actually committing it. Stop trying to pretend you're more moral here, all you're trying to do is create more victims.

          "Female victims of revenge porn"

          But male ones are OK to be attacked, huh? Also, you're demanding that the female ones are still attacked the moment people use something other than Google to search for things - you know, because removing something from Google does not remove the original sites it indexed.Why do you demand

          "It has no moral standing to be the judge of other nations, or the world's police."

          Yet, here you are demanding that people be held directly responsible for things they did not do, on a story that has nothing to do with the US. Interesting...

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2019 @ 6:34am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            The search engines that spread defamation do much more damage than someone who posts it in an obscure corner of the internet. People who are not willfully ignorant of this see that very clearly. Distributor liability is well-established law that was overridden by Section 230.

            As I noted above, in many if not most cases, it is impossible or impractical to go after the original publisher. It takes five seconds to make a defamatory posting, and years of litigation to undo it, all because the intermediaries allow themselves to be weaponized. As more sympathetic victims accrue, as with revenge porn, this becomes obvious, which is why Section 230 is on the way out here, and why there has never been an equivalent in other countries.

            No one should have to answer to lies every time they meet someone new, and that's what Google and other tech companies have done to this world for many people, including female victims of revenge porn.

            People who value big tech over the reputations of individuals are not terribly evolved, and are generally worth avoiding.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 11 Mar 2019 @ 6:57am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "The search engines that spread defamation do much more damage than someone who posts it in an obscure corner of the internet"

              ...and holding people liable for things that other people do doers a lot more damage than going after the originator, especially since this is often used instead of removing the original content.

              You obviously have some warped personal stake in this, but the fact is that holding people accountable for the actions of others is a very bad, even if your intentions are good. Your emotional pleas are just crap, because they will not address the actual issue.

              "People who value big tech over the reputations of individuals are not terribly evolved"

              Good thing nobody thinks that way, then.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2019 @ 7:16am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Perhaps you don't understand the concept of distributor liability. It's separate from what the original posters do, and more damaging. The search engines spread the defamation on their own, it's not "others" who do it.

                Female revenge-porn victims have a "warped personal stake" in their reputations? Right and wrong are pretty simple, and being a distributor of defamation is wrong.

                Your illogic and disingenuity speak for themselves, as do your repeated ad-hominem statements. You can declare yourself right without being right, but that doesn't make you right. Numerous individuals and many in government are in the process of eliminating Section 230.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  PaulT (profile), 11 Mar 2019 @ 7:33am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  "he search engines spread the defamation on their own, it's not "others" who do it."

                  Yet, if others didn't do something, there would be nothing for them to spread. Ditto if you got rid of the originating content. The fact that you'd rather go after innocent 3rd parties is going to lead to a lot of bigger problems that you choose to ignore.

                  "Numerous individuals and many in government are in the process of eliminating Section 230"

                  ...and they're all as wrong and ignorant as you are. But, at least we wouldn't have to read your lies since you'll have killed your ability to reach an audience.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2019 @ 12:03pm

                  Re: Jhon boy does it again

                  “Your illogic and disingenuity speak for themselves, as do your repeated ad-hominem statements. You can declare yourself right without being right, but that doesn't make you right.”

                  Best projection ever.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2019 @ 6:56pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Unless they are dead, judgment-proof, in another country, posting anonymously (from a "burner" IP), or there are thirty of them spread out making it impossible to sue, using an anonymous remailer, etc

          Okay, let's dissect the above...

          Dead: Whoop-de-fucking-doo. You'd think that this would make it easier to prove yourself right since the dead asshole can't speak in his defense, but bitching about this makes you look like the RIAA saps who tried to sue Gertrude Walton.

          Judgement-proof: Like Trump, then.

          In another country: Well, you'd better hope like hell this is the case, or all of your porn-pushing copyright enforcers are going to be queuing to Saudi Arabia for the local firing squad.

          Posting anonymously: Bitched the anonymous commenter. But seriously, this is why every time you copyright-types scream "IP address equals a person" everyone laughs at you.

          30 of them: ...Big deal? Why does that suddenly make them judgement proof? Why does that suddenly mean you can't go after them? Same crime, haul them all to court like you do with your RIAA-flavored subpoenas. The only reason I can think of as to why this isn't a desirable option is because the judge might divide the statutory damages between the victims and reduce the payout you get, but that's copyright law, not defamation law. All of this sounds like you're really mostly interested in the payout.

          Anonymous remailer: Because people are obviously going to click on something from an anonymous spam source? Jesus Jetfuel Christ, did a mailing list fondle your weewee as a kid? Is that why you're obsessed with them?

          America commits many atrocities against its citizens. It has no moral standing to be the judge of other nations, or the world's police.

          Said the FOSTA fanboy.

          This is why I unhide your garbage just to give you an Article 13 vote, then hide it again. Good job!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Gary (profile), 11 Mar 2019 @ 5:56am

      Re:

      More lies. Section 230 lets us post here. You are the only one with an axe to grind.

      How many days are you off your meds now?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2019 @ 6:22am

        Re: Re:

        See above for the reasons Section 230 is awful. Does the poster really believe there is no strong opposition to this law? Perhaps s/he doesn't read the news much, though the attempted ad-hominem attack in response would indicate that a serious nerve has been struck.

        He seems to be projecting something about the need for "meds" onto others. Really bad reflection on Masnick and his site to allow comments like that, plus it's a flawed debate tactic. No real way to respond to it other than to show how pathetic it is and that those who argue that way are bullies who have no interest in actual debate. The best way to deal with them is remain polite so that their aggression stands out as improper.

        Masnick gets full credit for allowing insults like this. Too bad his sponsors or those who otherwise pay him don't tell him to knock that off.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2019 @ 6:53am

          Re: Re: Re:

          You sound a bit like a control freak, is this the case?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2019 @ 7:16am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Nonsequitur.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2019 @ 6:45pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              No, considering that you think pirates hold mailing lists as their main source of power, "control" is something you are clearly clinically obsessed with.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Gary (profile), 11 Mar 2019 @ 7:19am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Your "reasons" are nonsense, as always John.

          You make a repeated claim that people are defaming/harassing you. (No proof, ever.) Your non-solution is to stop all user generated content.

          So you are either off your meds, or a sockpuppet. Either way, you deflect by blaming everyone but yourself.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            TFG, 11 Mar 2019 @ 2:50pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            So you are either off your meds,

            Now, now, Gary, let's not be disrespectful. People who require medicine to function at baseline normal have it rough enough as it is without casting aspersions on them by assuming this guy is among them.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2019 @ 12:05pm

          Re: Yoire the gift that keeps on giving

          “He seems to be projecting something about the need for "meds" onto others. Really bad reflection on Masnick and his site to allow comments like that, plus it's a flawed debate tactic. No real way to respond to it other than to show how pathetic it is and that those who argue that way are bullies who have no interest in actual debate.”

          Projecting about projecting. That’s a new low even for you Jhon boy

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2019 @ 6:16am

      Re:

      What are you trying to hide?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2019 @ 6:24am

        Re: Re:

        Your reply is a nonsequitur.

        Applied to a female revenge porn victim, I suppose they'd be asking why she's trying to hide "the pictures."

        Says a lot about them, and of course about Masnick (and his sponsors) for allowing that type of post. Even says something about Google for not delisting him for allowing cyberbullying, but rather letting his articles ride high in the search results for "news."

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 11 Mar 2019 @ 6:59am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Applied to a female revenge porn victim, I suppose they'd be asking why she's trying to hide "the pictures.""

          More like, why is she not going after the place the pictures are actually stored.

          "Says a lot about them, and of course about Masnick (and his sponsors) for allowing that type of post. "

          What type of post? Are you thinking of something specific? Why not link to it so the rest of use can work out what the hell you're blathering on about?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2019 @ 7:18am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            The place where the pictures are stored could be in another country, or they pop up somewhere else, each time found only because someone searched for them.

            It's not "blather" to anyone with basic reading skills, but your slanted language shows you don't debate very well.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 11 Mar 2019 @ 7:36am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "The place where the pictures are stored could be in another country, or they pop up somewhere else, each time found only because someone searched for them."

              ...and that will; not change unless you go after the people hosting them. The fact that Google is telling you where that is doesn't change that.

              "It's not "blather" to anyone with basic reading skills"

              Sorry did I miss the link to the specific story you're complaining about? I still don't see it anywhere.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2019 @ 12:07pm

          Re: Copyrights best and brightest on display here today

          “Even says something about Google for not delisting him for allowing cyberbullying,“

          And it even says something about you. Like how we let you post here so we can point and laugh at the freak.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2019 @ 6:52am

      Re:

      Politicians strip Americans of their rights to protect themselves against draconian measures. ftfy

      I'm curious, can anything be "weaponized"?
      How about tissue paper, how would one weaponize tissue paper?

      "Thailand is a sovereign nation, free to make its own laws."

      • Yes. It is time to stop the imperialism, nation building, whatever you want to call it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2019 @ 4:31am

    the thing is, it's everywhere, not just Thailand! the whole aim of all these new laws is to make sure that people either dont/cant find out about the rich, the famous and the powerful, in particular governments, politicians and the supposed leaders of the World but if info is discovered, no one is allowed, under punishment of life in prison or death if they spread this info! if people cant see the world being turned even more and even quicker into nothing other than a slave Planet, run by,on behalf of and for the benefit of those mentioned above, you need to wake up and smell the coffee!! every right, freedom and privacy of ordinary people is being not slowly eroded but systematically removed, not bit by bit or slowly but all at once and as fast as possible! we're in deep, deep shit people and it's getting worse!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 11 Mar 2019 @ 5:20am

    Achieving perfect unanimity

    ...passed the country’s parliament with 133 positives votes and no rejections, although there were 16 absentees.

    Not a single rejection vote. I am wondering if the absentees were previously shot.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2019 @ 5:22am

    If you are travelling thee, just set up a VPN on your home computer before you go, so that you cannot be monitored. All anyone will know is that you are connecting to your home computer, back home. They will not be able to break the VPN encryption to your home machine.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2019 @ 6:55am

      Re:

      VPNs can not be monitored ... lol

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2019 @ 7:52am

        Re: Re:

        If you're running your own VPN and accessing it from Thailand then the Thai government can't monitor you, no. The gov't in your home country still could by monitoring traffic on the other side of your VPN but that's not who you're trying to protect yourself in this scenario.

        "lol" indeed.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2019 @ 8:09am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Assuming that you have gotten the security and setup of your VPN correct. One mistake and it will be owned by any interested government, and various hackers.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2019 @ 9:26am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Don't be silly, cracking your VPN is possible with equipment and time.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2019 @ 7:53am

    If you had a brutal dictatorship to the west, a totalitarian regime to the north, mass murdering Pole Pot to the east, and muslim fundamentalists to the south you would be a little paranoid to about what people say and do.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2019 @ 8:11am

      Re:

      And making political opponents paranoid about using the Internet only reduces internal security, as they will find and use alternative ways of communicating.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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