Analysis: MICT Blocklist, 13 October 2006

November 16, 2006

[ภาษาไทย: วิเคราะห์: รายการบล็อกเว็บไซต์ โดยกระทรวงไอซีที (จนถึง 13 ต.ค. 2549)]

On close examination of the MICT blocklist of 2,475 websites (some may have been unblocked as MICT’s numbering reaches ), no websites appear in categories 1-3. While there are only a few appearances in categories 4 and 5, it could not be determined what made their content offensive.

The largest grouping is, predictably, Category 6, which appears to be pornography of various persuasions. Pornography is specifically illegal in Thailand. There are therefore procedures to be followed by the Royal Thai Police, including requests to Interpol to have the offending content removed in the foreign countries where the servers are located. The present approach by MICT could not even begin to stop Internet pornography in Thailand or anywhere else as there are now tens of millions of distinct websites.

Of interest to this researcher are Categories 7-9. In our previous analysis, of the MICT blocklist of 26 May 2006, Category 7 appeared to consist of anonymous proxy servers, used effectively in China and many other countries to evade web censorship. This is clearly undemocratic as public policy and violates both Section 37 of the Constitution as the Telecommunications Act.

Category 8 appeared to consist of websites containing Thai political content with many focussing on the South, in particular, the Pattani United Liberation Organisation which is, as far as I know, not a banned organisation in Thailand. Even if it is a banned organisation, is it legal to block PULO’s appeal to the United Nations? This also is clearly undemocratic as public policy and violates both Section 37 of the Constitution as the Telecommunications Act.

Category 9 appeared to consist of websites which content concerns the Thai monarchy. As we are not able to view the content of these sites we should examine MICT’s past actions in which the entire website of Yale University, one of the world’s most respected universities and which number Thai Royalty among their alumni.

There is no such organisation to MICT’s 13 October 2006 blocklist. While these categories still exist and Category 6 consists overwhelmingly of pornographic content, this category is now salted with anonymous proxy servers and Thai political content as well. For the first time, MICT’s blocklist contains Internet gambling sites.

Category 7 still consists mainly of anonymous proxy servers but has been salted with websites with Thai political content on the bloody situation in Southern Thailand.

Category 8 still consists primarily of Thai political content but now also contains some anonymous proxy servers, BBC 1, BBC 2, CNN, Yahoo News, Seattle P-I, The Age,, Amazon UK, and Yale University Press websites containing articles about His Majesty King Bhumibhol and Thaksin.

Category 9 now consists of websites with content opposed to Thailand’s September 19 coup d’etat as well as sites with Thai political content and some anonymous proxy servers.

In September, MICT also began to block access to the cached web pages accessible by search engines such as Google and Yahoo for the first time.

Midnight University shared its IP at <> with 30 other websites. Thaiis blocked this IP at the telephone request of MICT’s CyberInspector September 29; this caused all 30 others to also be blocked. Interestingly, no URL or IP for Midnight University appears on the 13 October MICT blocklist.

This is the first direct suppression of Thai web fora and discussion boards. Midnight University chose to file a suit in court and petition the Human Rights Commission and was granted a temporary restraining order against MICT. The court order clearly states that “the police have no power to order blocking of any website or ask a court to block a website because there is no law regarding this”. Others, such as Prachatai and Pantip, have chosen to self-censor for “sensitive” material which their users may post for discussion.

Some websites with variations on URL (Uniform Record locator, or web address) but using the same IP (Internet Protocol) number, which means their content is identical, have been put in different categories.

MICT continues to use categories. The fact that the content of the categories seems to be more or less random either shows confusion and disorganisation at MICT or serves a different purpose: public obfuscation.

The current blocklist, at least, now appears on a website: <; which is actually <;. Accessing this site, brings the user to a login page with a registration button. However, when the user attempts to enter a login and password or create a new registration, the page returns a “User Already Exists!” message. Obviously, this site is not intended for viewing by the general public. I suspect MICT has done away with its practice of “requesting” Thai ISPs to block new websites and now simply expects the ISPs to access this page and block the sites listed.

MICT’s “green screen” has also gone missing. For the MICT blocklist of 29 May, users were redirected to MICT’s CyberClean/CyberInspector if they attempted to access blocked websites. Presently, the user receives several denial of service screens: Access Denied (policy_denied) (improper/obscene website); Network Error (dns_server_failure); Network Error (tcp_error); and browser error messages: Can’t find the server; Can’t open the page (bad server responce); Can’t open the page (server stopped responding). The user is thus led to believe the failure occurs either with the ISP or with the Web browser used rather than with MICT.

Furthermore, MICT has “requested” Google Thailand and Google USA to self-censor. Google is researching how to effectively block its cached web pages from Thai Internet users. Google has also suggested to MICT that the company will block keyword searches which has also been used by the company for political repression in China. Just what are those keywords???


CJ Hinke



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