Feeds

Thai Police shutter 5,000+ sites insulting royals

Touchy Thais don't want you dissing their king

Seven Steps to Software Security

The monarchy-loving Thai authorities have deleted over 5,000 web pages in the past three months in a continued crack down on content deemed insulting to the royal family, although critics argue it’s just an excuse to exercise ever more hardline censorship controls.

Thailand national police spokesman Piya Utayo explained that content critical of the royals had decreased during the period from December to March, although gave no explanation why, according to an AFP report.

Those found guilty of lèse majesté- literally ‘injured majesty’ – could face up to 15 years in a Thai slammer, and the pages of the interwebs are littered with the cases of unlucky souls such as Wipas Raksakulthai, who is thought to be the first person charged with the crime after an ill-considered Facebook post.

Although revered by many in the country, the 84-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who is the country’s longest reigning monarch, does seem to polarise opinion – perhaps because he has personally intervened in the running of the country on several occasions.

Many have argued that lèse majesté is being used by the government as a smokescreen for an ever more rigorous approach to online censorship in the country.

On Monday, rights group Reporters Without Borders explained in its yearly report that Thailand was on its “countries under surveillance” list and could even swap places with the notoriously repressive state of Burma if it doesn’t soften its approach.

“If Thailand continues down the slope of content filtering and jailing netizens on lèse-majesté charges, it could soon join the club of the world’s most repressive countries as regards the internet,” the report said.

The government already nailed its colours to the mast earlier this year when it became the first to publically endorse a new feature on micro-blogging site Twitter designed to allow for the blocking of tweets at a country level in order to comply with local laws.

ICT permanent secretary Jeerawan Boonperm told the Bangkok Post that the functionality was a "welcome development" and that the Thai government wanted to make use of it.

Thailand is not alone in the world when it comes to wanting to block the free flow of information across the web, of course. China, Iran, India and Pakistan have all built or are mulling plans to build national content filtering systems. ®

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Delaware pair nabbed for getting saucy atop Mexican eatery
Burrito meets soft taco in alleged rooftop romp outrage
LightSquared backer sues FCC over spectrum shindy
Why, we might as well have been buying AIR
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.