Thailand toughens stance on online monitoring

Technology > Security


Thailand’s Digital Economy Ministry said it plans  to spend 128.56 million baht ($3.8 million) on software to strengthen the military government's ability to track online networks and monitor online activity.

The move came about as Thai authorities intensified efforts to search social media for violations of a law that makes it a crime to defame, insult, or threaten their king, queen, heir to the throne, or regent.

The software should include a "social network data analysis system" to monitor and map individuals and relationships between more than one million online users, according to a ministry document seen by Reuters.  "It will sweep and store all data available on social media to be analyzed and monitored," Teerawut Thongpak, director of the ministry's Digital Service Infrastructure Department, told Reuters.  

Meanwhile, the junta is also pushing for a cyber security bill which is expected to be put before parliament this year.  

 Civil society and business groups worry that the bill would give the government powers for mass surveillance.  Experts say the bill is seen as more intrusive than a recently amended Computer Crime Act which only allows authorities to censor online content, but not to pry into private data.

 Reuters said the bill proposes the creation of a National Cyber Security Committee, with junta leader Prayuth Chan-ocha at the helm.  As committee chief, he can command both public agencies and private businesses to help with cyber security investigations. 

One provision allows authorities can order anyone to report for questioning or hand over information, as well as to tap all communication devices including phones and computers in "emergency cases", without court approval.



source: author: geralt