MICT admits blocking ‘1,893’ websites-Bangkok Post

June 12, 2008

[FACT comments: The impression the ICT Ministry seeks to convey is that it has only ever blocked 1,893 websites are revealed to FACT under its appeal through Thailand’s FOI laws. Note that MICT didn’t divulge this number willingly; it was compelled to by the legal information appeal process, incidentally, more than a year after FACT asked politely for these figures.

The last leaked MICT blocklist published by FACT and Wikileaks in advance of the Cybercrime Law clearly shows 17,883 websites were blocked by MICT. ICT bureaucrats have offered wildly differing figures, from as low as 12 up to 2,000. However, MICT has never owned up to its secret blocklists which were downloaded from the Ministry’s own servers.

Take careful note that MICT applied for its very first court order to block a website almost a full year after the Cybercrime Law took effect. Equally important is the fact that the Ministry applied for the court order in secret. If there’s all this dangerous stuff out there on the Internet, shouldn’t Thai government be proud of protecting us all instead of hiding what they’re doing from a public who pays for it? Makes us wonder just what else they’re hiding from us…]

1,893 sites now blocked
DON SAMBANDARAKSA
Bangkok Post Database: June 11, 2008

http://www.bangkokpost.com/Database/11Jun2008_data008.php

A total of 1,893 web sites are now officially blocked here, according to the government’s first official response under the Official Information Act. However, this is a tiny fraction of the 17,883 sites on the latest leaked “blocklist” from the ICT Ministry, while even the National Police Commission’s web site once claimed 32,500 sites were blocked.

Freedom Against Censorship – Thailand (FACT) coordinator C.J. Hinke, a lecturer at Thammasat University, said that of 20 questions put to the Official Information Commission, only two had been answered and the rest had been dismissed on national security grounds.

“The essence of the 20 questions was, show us the blocklist, show us the reasons and show us the law,” he said.

FACT had submitted its query under the Official Information Act in March last year.

Under the law, officials have to respond within 30 days, or 60 days in unusual circumstances. In this case, they took a year to respond.

Hinke claimed that Internet censorship is illegal and violates 11 articles of the 1997 constitution and at least two in the 2007 constitution. The only [FACT: current, under the Cybercrime Law] legal way to block a site is to get a court order.

Anonymous proxies made up the bulk of the MICT blocklist. Under the cybercrime law, concealing an IP addresses is illegal which implies the end of anonymity and privacy.

“Do we really want to create a surveillance society where every opinion and expression is tracked and monitored and we are perhaps jailed for expressing our thoughts?” he asked.

“The Council of State has declared [FACT: decreed] that Internet censorship is illegal, as has the Administrative Court,” he said.

He said that the ICT Ministry had recently applied for its first court order to block a web site which was offering T-shirts of a dog-faced Buddha for sale in both human and canine sizes.

He also noted that of the 29 “bad” web sites that the opposition Democrat party wanted blocked, one of them was Midnight University’s web site which was now under an administrative court protection order specifically preventing it from being blocked.

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