News broke yesterday that the Thai government is planning to control the country’s Internet with a system that closely resembles the Great Firewall of China. The Thai government is planning to set up a “single gateway Internet” that would allow them to control all information going in and out of the country. With the new system the government would no longer need to ask ISPs to block sites, but instead be able to do so themselves – leaving ISPs and users with no control. This proposal also includes amendments to existing Internet-related laws, making its reach even greater.
Thailand has imposed moderate Internet censorship in the past, restricting select content including pornography and mentions of the royal family. Censorship in the country increased in 2006, when the Royal Thai Army overthrew the government.
Another “Great Firewall” in Asia would be a very dangerous system to have in place. It would greatly limit the flow of information in and out of the Thailand, and impose restrictive censorship on people in the country. As a company that fights for a free and open Internet experience for users around the world, we’re not happy to hear this news. We’ll be watching closely to see how things progress.
Update – October 5, 2015
The Pheu Thai Party, Thailand’s “majority coalition party” has spoken out against the proposed Thai Great Firewall, or single Internet gateway. The party believes this system would several have negative impacts, including giving those in charge increased authority to block websites, threats to freedom of speech and slowed Internet connections or even total service collapse if the gateway was overloaded.
It was also reported that Thailand’s gamers have been fighting back against the proposal, and launched a coordinated DDoS attack on several government websites last week. This elicited a public response from the county’s Minister for Information, who attempted to reassure citizens the new gateway was intended to have positive impacts, such as faster speeds and cost reductions.
Update – June 3, 2016
The Thai government is amending the Computer Crimes Act, in an attempt to bolster censorship capabilities within the country. This moves includes “attacking website encryption” in the name of protecting safety and stability in the country.
Learn more about the Great Firewall of China.
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