With a secret military court again denying bail last week to Jatuphat Boonpattararaksa, a law student from Khon Kaen University in Northeast Thailand, the regime is adopting show trials targeting university students, human rights activists, and academics. In effect, it is engaging in cyberwarfare against its own people, cementing a surveillance state. In addition, the military state mentality presents a clear and present threat to Thailand’s overseas image and economy.
The junta’s National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA) has given the green light to media reform proposals which will tighten government control and surveillance over online media. On 3 July 2017, the NRSA voted 144-1 in favour of a report compiled by its Social Media Reform Subcommittee. Two members abstained.
Hacktivists posted online Tuesday documents they say contradict army denials it has purchased decryption devices that would allow access to encrypted computer traffic.
A civil society group has called on people to engage in a social media campaign to prevent the junta’s lawmakers to pass the new draconian Computer Crime Bill.
It has been nine years since the Computer Crime Act (CCA) was promulgated in the wake of the 2006 coup to control the netizens in Thailand. Many websites have been blocked, often permanently without due process or remedy; and many internet users have unjustifiably faced criminal prosecution for expressing their opinion online. Now, the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) appointed by the 2014 coup-makers is considering amendments to the law as one of its primary agenda.
After tasking the Army Cyber Centre with a lèse majesté hunt, the Thai government has claimed it has blocked about 900 URLs with content deemed insulting to the Thai Monarchy or threatening to national security. On 2 October 2016, ACM Prajin Janthong, a deputy minister and caretaker Minister for Digital Economy and Society (DE), said that so far the centre has blocked 200 URLs with content allegedly violating Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the lèse majesté law, in accordance with the junta’s order.
The deputy head of the junta has urged police officers to increase their surveillance of social media as the public referendum on the controversial junta-sponsored draft constitution is drawing near.
In a move to discipline netizens, the Thai police has set up millions of baht of budget to purchase a new software to monitor social media. According to Blognone News,The Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD) of the Royal Thai Police has announced a bidding to purchase a software to monitor facebook, twitter, and Pantip.com. a Thai-language website discussion forum.
Authoritarianism as a form of government has been analyzed in some depth by the political scientist Juan Linz, and the relevant Wikipedia page provides four qualities of such governments according to Linz: (1) "limited, not responsible, political pluralism"; that is, constraints on political institutions and groups (such as legislatures, political parties and interest groups),
Following revelations by WikiLeaks that the Thai authorities allegedly purchased a surveillance programme from an Italian firm, further leaked documents show that staff from the IT firm went to Thailand’s Deep South to deliver certain products.