Cybercrime law no prescription for dictatorship

May 22, 2007

[ภาษาไทย: พ.ร.บ. ว่าด้วยการกระทำความผิดเกี่ยวกับคอมพิวเตอร์ต้องไม่ใช่ใบรับรองอำนาจเผด็จการ]

There was a recent meeting at MICT to discuss the censorship capabilities of the new cybercrime law. The following is a report by one of the participants in that meeting.

I’d like to brief you on yesterday’s meeting about blocking “inappropriate” websites (with focus on pornography sites) at the ICT Ministry (mainly the meeting was between ICT and ISPs [Internet Service Provider]).

Key ISPs who didn’t attended were TRUE and KSC.

The purpose of this meeting was to verbally agree on the steps to block websites, in accordance with the new Cybercrime Bill. The ICT Ministry will block websites with the following guidelines:

  • ICT can order immediate blocking for websites located abroad
  • For websites located in Thailand or have Thailand-related content, the ICT will not block, but the police will press charges instead. The meeting agreed not to block this kind of website
  • ISP will be contacted directly by the police officer who will be designated on a case-by-case basis, to pursue confiscation of user’s computer or seek any information from ISP (ISP says that previously, the police and ICT know “who” in each ISP to contact, but ISP didn’t know the police offer in charge, so they asked for clarification)
  • More clarification was sought with regards to criteria used for blocking each site, i.e. ICT was asked to give reasons for blocking particular sites, e.g. national security, defamation, etc. (meeting attendees, even including the police, agreed with this, but the ICT seemed displeased)
  • Meeting also talked about FACT’s public disclosure of secret blocklists. Chairman in the meeting (ICT Minister) said he is monitoring FACT’s activities.

The meeting concluded rather inconclusively.

The success of FACT’s campaign against censorship in Thailand depends, not on FACT opposing the Thai government but by FACT being opposite to government censors. Where government tries to hide their activities from Thai people, FACT publishes this openly. Where government tries to cloud and confuse the issues, FACT analyses and comments. We pay taxes for their actions, that makes them responsible to us, the Thai public; MICT’s budget is five BILLION baht this year.

The issue of censorship is crucial to the future of human rights, civil liberties and basic freedoms in Thailand; it forms the keystone basis for the future of all Thai democracy.

Do YOU care enough about freedom? If FACT’s blogsite is blocked, you will find our mirror sites. MICT should not think the truth is so easy to block.

Freedom Against Censorship Thailand will continue to publish MICT’s secret blocklists. FACT will continue to provide circumvention software and information on using anonymous proxies for Thai people to go around MICT’s block.

MICT now thinks it has achieved a landslide victory with passage of its draconian cybercrime law. Well before the coup, MICT was drunk with its own power. This new law has not been proven or tested in the courts. The cybercrime law is not a prescription for dictatorship.

We read recently that MICT’s Dr. Sitthichai was the richest Cabinet minister. He doesn’t use the Internet or email. How can he relate to the rest of us?

The truth is there for all of us. Be not afraid. It is a measure of FACT’s effectiveness that MICT has begun to take notice of our campaign. We haven’t even begun to fight… (Did you think it was going to be easy?)

2 Responses to “Cybercrime law no prescription for dictatorship”

  1. Where can I find an English translation of the Cybercrime law – the version that passed? I see you have a draft version posted, but I’m looking for the final.

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