The authorities have reportedly spent 28.4 million baht on a computer programme that targets viewers of lèse majesté content. BBC Thai reported on 23 May 2017 that the Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD) spent the money to procure a social network data analysis programme.
The junta have charged eight dissidents abducted by the military with sedition while two of the eight are also accused of lѐse majesté. Meanwhile, the police are gathering evidence against key red shirt figures allegedly linked to some of the eight.
After the Defence Ministry gave the green light to the Cyber Security Bill yesterday, human rights organizations urged the government to reveal details of the bill for public scrutiny. Amnesty International (AI), iLaw, an internet based human rights advocacy group, and Thai Netizen Network (TNN), a civil society group advocating internet freedom, on Tuesday, 1 March 2016, issued a joint statement to demand that the authorities disclose to the public the Cyber Security Bill, the Protection of Personal Information Bill, and the amended draft of the Computer Crime Act.
Thailand’s telecommunication authorities have admitted that a plan to reduce the number of internet gateways down to one is for ‘national security’, but added that it will also boost the country’s IT capacity to compete with other nations.
The cabinet under the junta has ordered relevant agencies to speed up the process to reduce multiple internet gateways to a single one in order to increase the efficiency of the state’s surveillance system. The cabinet under Gen Prayuth Chan-o-cha, the junta leader and Prime Minister, last month has given a green light to the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) and relevant agencies to push ahead with the process to implement a single gateway internet system before the end of the 2015 fiscal budget.
The head of the Thai police proposed a plan to reduce multiple internet gateways to a single one in order to increase the efficiency of the state’s surveillance system. Pol Gen Somyos Pumpanmuang, the chief of the Royal Thai Police, on Wednesday suggested to the Thai government and the state’s security agencies to permit only one internet gateway system instead of multiple ones.
Despite the censorship and surveillance already imposed on the press and Internet users after the coup d’état in May, the junta is now exacerbating an environment of fear by further tightening its control over social media.
Thai authorities reportedly planned to implement a surveillance device starting from 15 September to sniff out Thai Internet users, specifically targeting those producing and reading lèse majesté content, a report says. Although the report is yet to be confirmed, it has created greater climate of fear among media. Prachatai has received unconfirmed reports from two different sources.