FACT MONITORS MICT! They LIE! Secret May blocklist posted

June 1, 2007

[ภาษาไทย: FACT จับตามองไอซีที! They LIE! Secret May blocklist posted]


FACT MONITORS MICT! They LIE! Secret May blocklist posted

Freedom Against Censorship Thailand (FACT) has just downloaded the most current, official, secret blocklist from the servers at Thailand’s Ministry of Information and Communication Technology and posted it to FACT’s website.

MICT has relied on Thai ISPs to block the Web at its “request” but has now changed tactics to block directly at Thailand’s four Internet gateways: Communications Authority of Thailand (CAT), Telephone Organisation of Thailand (TOT), True Internet and Buddy Broadband.

In part, this change may have been effected because FACT makes MICT’s secret blocklists public and MICT was trying to plug the leak. (Didn’t work!) In any event, blocking at the gateways does ensure MICT more comprehensive control over censorship.

MICT’s May 28, 2007 blocklist includes 11,329 websites banned in Thailand from an overall total of 17,793. This is an increase of 90 political websites over April.

January 2004 – 1,247
May 2006 – 2,328
October 2006 – 2,475
January 2007 – 13,435
March 2007 – 10,885
April 2007 – 11,239

May 2007 – 11,329


January 2004 was the last blocklist made public by MICT. The original number of sites nearly doubled by May 2006 but never achieved the numbers the censors had wet dreams about: Thaksin, 2005: “800,000″; MICT, 2006: “10,000″.

That is, until Thailand’s military coup d’etat on September 19, 2006. The fifth official order of the coup leader on the day after the coup was to censor the Internet. This action speaks loudly about the weight of strategic importance in the shaping of public opinion he placed on the availability of information on the ‘net.

The junta also appointed Dr. Sitthichai Pokaiyaudom “Official Censor of the Military Coup” as Minister of Information and Communication Technology. The coup leaders were busy so there wasn’t much of a rise in October 2007 but the numbers jumped more than 500% by January 2007! The military censors had finally bested Thaksin at something!

Although the numbers dropped somewhat by March 2007, this appears to be MICT eliminating duplication on its list. However, the March figure still represents a more than 400% increase over October and May higher still. One need only compare the numbers from May 2006 (2,328) to May 2007 (11,329).

In May 2007 these figures had risen by only 90 new websites blocked in one month but all of the new sites blocked were political in nature. Anti-coup websites, pro-Thaksin websites, newly-uncovered anonymous proxies, plus all the usual suspects from past blocklists were censored.

The ICT Minister, Dr. Sitthichai Pokaiyaudom, has been variously quoted in the Thai press making various statements that, since coming to office in October 2006 as “Official Censor of the Military Coup”, his Ministry has blocked “only two”, “five”, “about a dozen” websites.

More recently, the Official Censor has been quoted as saying he’s blocked “not over 20 websites” (Thai Rath: May 29, 2007), “only around 30, all of which were pornographic” (Bangkok Post: May 30, 2007) which censorship Dr. Sitthichai comments is “not as severe a violation of human rights” as blocking done under the Thaksin government!

However, the Minister goes on to say, he certainly has not been responsible for blocking “13,000 websites” which he blames on the previous administration, accusing it of being “many times more of a dictator“, presumably in comparison with himself! (Thai Rath: May 29, 2007)

Fine…except that the previous government blocked 2,400 sites at the top of its game. MICT’s most recent blocklist, downloaded from their website, consists of 11,329 sites with MICT’s own numbering system all the way up to 17,793.

FACT believes the difference in these numbers indicates websites which were blocked and then were taken off the blocklists for various reasons such as the website being removed or MICT realising it was blocked in error. A website blocked for 10 seconds inadvertently or in error is still censorship.

(Dr. Sitthichai may also have overlooked YouTube; not only is the entire domain still blocked by MICT but so also are 75 separate pages within that domain, just to make extra sure! Not two, not five, not a dozen, not even 20 or 30. Dr. Sitthichai has already claimed credit for blocking YouTube so it is inescapable that these 75 pages were blocked on his watch.)

The Minister also states that he expects not to block more than “60″ websites before the term of the coup government expires (Thai Rath: May 29, 2007). Now we’re laughing until we are crying! Mr. Minister, what about the 90 websites MICT blocked in May alone or the 9,000 between October and January?!?

Other Ministry officials have told a team of human rights lawyers from Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society investigating Internet censorship in Thailand that MICT blocks “around 2,000″ websites on January 11, the very day FACT downloaded a copy of MICT’s secret blocklist of 13,435 blocked sites from MICT’s own servers.

Later that month, on January 26, the same MICT official told the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand that MICT blocks “around 50″ websites.

So which is it? MICT’s own blocklists don’t lie but it seems their bureaucrats do. This attitude of impunity is more than just simple government obfuscation or bureaucratic confusion. It is even more serious than a smoke-and-mirrors, laissez-faire approach to the truth.

The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology is, in fact, engaged in deliberate deception of the Thai public and the manipulation of public opinion for political gain.

If you find the discrepancy of these numbers astounding, incredible and unbelievable (and who wouldn’t!), you can try a simple experiment on any computer in Thailand: pick any website from the blocklist (available online at <https://facthai.wordpress.com/data&gt; or just click on the bold, red “MICT SECRET BLOCKLIST” on FACT’s front page) and try to access it. If you can’t, MICT lies.

Even the Royal Thai Police, the Thai Webmasters Association and Thai ISPs support MICT releasing their criteria for blocking websites at the very least, which they refuse to do. When government hides behind a veil of absolute deniability and lies about it in the face of documentary evidence, one wonders what else they might be hiding.

MICT’s blocklist may well be interpreted as constituting a “set of illegal instructions” under Thailand’s new cybercrime law. FACT agrees that MICT’s blocklist is indeed a “set of illegal instructions” because Internet censorship is illegal in Thailand.

No Thai law, past, present or under consideration, permits Internet blocking. In fact, a decree of the Council of State and ruling by the Administrative Court found no legal basis for Internet censorship.

The new cybercrime law doesn’t change that status quo. There is no mention of censorship in the new law.

The 1997 Constitution was repealed by coup. However, the Constitution remains the foundation of all Thai law until it is replaced. Internet censorship violates at least four articles in our Constitution.

Furthermore, Internet censorship is in violation of international agreements. Freedom of expression is guaranteed as a basic human right under Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which Thailand is a signatory state. In fact, free speech is the cornerstone of democracy.

Nevertheless, the Ministry continues to block websites, an action both criminal and unConstitutional. MICT continues with its goal of thought control and the manipulation of public opinion by restricting public access to information.

People only lie with the knowledge that they’re doing wrong.

Freedom Against Censorship Thailand (FACT) considers the nature of the 90 websites blocked from April to May to be most revealing of MICT’s hidden political agenda.

Of course, MICT is not Thailand’s only censor. Far worse is the Royal Thai Police which, in November 2006, when they last published these statistics, was blocking 32,500 websites. It is inconceivable that this figure has decreased. FACT can say with accuracy that Thai government agencies are blocking nearly 50,000 websites.

The military coup and its government have turned the Internet into a battleground in Thailand. Thai people have basic human rights and civil liberties which cannot be suppressed by dictatorship. Free speech, free expression, free media, free opinions, freedom of thought and ideas. Freedom of knowledge. Freedom. Thai means free. How dare they!

Censorship is obscene. Censorship is dictatorship. Censorship is terrorism.

Block list: https://facthai.wordpress.com/data/blocked/

6 Responses to “FACT MONITORS MICT! They LIE! Secret May blocklist posted”

  1. […] June 2nd, 2007 [in English: FACT MONITORS MICT! They LIE! Secret May blocklist posted] […]

  2. […] full text of the FACT statement is available online: https://facthai.wordpress.com/2007/06/01/fact-monitors-mict-secret-may-blocklist-posted. Posted by facthai Filed in FACT in the news, Internet censorship, […]

  3. […] common people clearly don’t appreciate your work rate either. Web statistics say you gentlemen now block over seventeen thousand web sites and that number increases by ninety a […]

  4. […] websites are blocked by several government agencies,” said Hinke. A blocklist from the MICT (secret May 28, blocklist) available from FACT includes 11,329 websites that have been banned in the past four months a total […]

  5. […] websites are blocked by several government agencies,” said Hinke. A blocklist from the MICT (secret May 28, blocklist) available from FACT includes 11,329 websites that have been banned in the past four months a total […]

  6. […] websites are blocked by several government agencies,” said Hinke. A blocklist from the MICT (secret May 28, blocklist) available from FACT includes 11,329 websites that have been banned in the past four months a total […]

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