Thai junta plans single Internet gateway to gain control of web use

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Thai internet censorshipThai authorities are reportedly planning a single gateway for all Internet traffic in and out of the kingdom in an attempt of Chinese-style web control.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and his cabinet instructed the National Police Department, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Information and Communication to set up a single gateway Internet, a government release (in Thai, 5th paragraph) confirms. Gateways are used to connect one communication system to another. If these changes go ahead uncontested, the government will essentially be able to closely monitor and control all online information that comes into Thailand from other countries.

Additionally, earlier this month the cabinet demanded the aforementioned agencies list any laws that would need to be amended prior to setting up the single gateway web. The original proposal was made back in June.

The political movements were unearthed by a Twitter user, who discovered them while looking through the government’s official cabinet resolutions.

In its 2014 listing, US research group Freedom House ranked Thailand as the country with the 52nd least-free Internet out of 65, narrowly finishing above countries like Pakistan, Iran and China — whose government’s censorship measures are infamously referred to as the Great Firewall of China, in reference to the country’s Great Wall.

Meanwhile, the Thai government started backpedaling on the issue.

Information and Communication Technology Minister Uttama Savanayana said on September 24 that the objective of the single Internet gateway “initiative” was “not to enhance national security, but to help Internet businesses reduce costs by sharing a single gateway.”

Uttama said the initiative was being explored by the ministry along with other organisations and stakeholders. He did not commit to a timeframe on when the proposal will be sent to the Cabinet for consideration but he said the ministry was not in a hurry to get it finished as it needed to be carefully considered.

The public needed to understand that the single gateway would save Internet businesses money, he said, because they would not have to invest in their own gateway.

Uttama added that the single gateway was still in the discussion stage. He said businesses would not be forced to use the single gateway.“It is to be done on a volunteer basis when we develop the infrastructure. It is not to force them. That is impossible,” said Uttama.

However, critics dismissed the idea of a single Internet gateway for businesses as impractical and diametrical to international standards, noting that in case of a breakdown there would be a total blackout for all businesses, thus Uttama’s explanation does not make much sense.
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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Thai authorities are reportedly planning a single gateway for all Internet traffic in and out of the kingdom in an attempt of Chinese-style web control.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Thai internet censorshipThai authorities are reportedly planning a single gateway for all Internet traffic in and out of the kingdom in an attempt of Chinese-style web control.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and his cabinet instructed the National Police Department, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Information and Communication to set up a single gateway Internet, a government release (in Thai, 5th paragraph) confirms. Gateways are used to connect one communication system to another. If these changes go ahead uncontested, the government will essentially be able to closely monitor and control all online information that comes into Thailand from other countries.

Additionally, earlier this month the cabinet demanded the aforementioned agencies list any laws that would need to be amended prior to setting up the single gateway web. The original proposal was made back in June.

The political movements were unearthed by a Twitter user, who discovered them while looking through the government’s official cabinet resolutions.

In its 2014 listing, US research group Freedom House ranked Thailand as the country with the 52nd least-free Internet out of 65, narrowly finishing above countries like Pakistan, Iran and China — whose government’s censorship measures are infamously referred to as the Great Firewall of China, in reference to the country’s Great Wall.

Meanwhile, the Thai government started backpedaling on the issue.

Information and Communication Technology Minister Uttama Savanayana said on September 24 that the objective of the single Internet gateway “initiative” was “not to enhance national security, but to help Internet businesses reduce costs by sharing a single gateway.”

Uttama said the initiative was being explored by the ministry along with other organisations and stakeholders. He did not commit to a timeframe on when the proposal will be sent to the Cabinet for consideration but he said the ministry was not in a hurry to get it finished as it needed to be carefully considered.

The public needed to understand that the single gateway would save Internet businesses money, he said, because they would not have to invest in their own gateway.

Uttama added that the single gateway was still in the discussion stage. He said businesses would not be forced to use the single gateway.“It is to be done on a volunteer basis when we develop the infrastructure. It is not to force them. That is impossible,” said Uttama.

However, critics dismissed the idea of a single Internet gateway for businesses as impractical and diametrical to international standards, noting that in case of a breakdown there would be a total blackout for all businesses, thus Uttama’s explanation does not make much sense.
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