Thai Army forms ‘Army Cyber Centre’ to protect the monarchy

The Thai Army has established an ‘Army Cyber Centre’ to boost the military’s online defence capacity whose primary task is to protect the Thai monarchy.  

On Monday, 19 October 2015, Gen Sommai Kaotira, Supreme Commander of the Royal Thai Armed Forces, the commanders-in-chief of the Royal Thai Army, Navy, and Air Force, and Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda, Chief of the Royal Thai Police, met at the Military Headquarters in Bangkok to announce the establishment of the Army Cyber Centre.

At the meeting, the commanders of the security forces announced that the main purpose of the Army Cyber Centre is to boost the cyber defence mechanisms of all security forces in the country to handle any cyber threats in the digital era.

On the same occasion, Gen Sommai added that one of the primary tasks of the security forces is to give protection to the ‘revered and beloved’ Thai monarchy and to organise activities to honour the King, the Queen, and other members of the Thai Royal Family. He added that the military will provide the best support they can to the upcoming ‘Bike for Dad’ activity, a cycle rally which will be organised around the King’s birthday on 5 December 2015.  

Currently, the establishment of the Army Cyber Centre is still in its initial stages.

According to the documents of the meeting organised by the Subcommittee of Information and Communication Technology of the Army on 28 April 2015, one of the important operations of the Centre is to keep track of information on media and social media and to sort them out systematically.

On a presentation slide used in the meeting titled ‘monitoring, examining, and warning’, pictures of Somsak Jeamteerasakul, an embattled former lecturer of Thammasat University now in self-imposed exile in France after being charged under the lèse majesté law, Jatuporn Prompan, a key leader of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), the main red shirt faction, and Panthongtae Shinawatra, the son of former controversial PM Thaksin Shinawatra, were used as examples of online sources that should be monitored.

The document of 231 pages in total, some of which were leaked, also provides details about how to report pages which provide ‘cautious’ online information most effectively.

In the same week, the Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD) will organise a media forum titled ‘Think before posting...clicking might lead to jail’ on 23 October 2015.

According to the publicity for the event, which will be held at Central World Shopping Mall in central Bangkok, the forum is organised under a TCSD project called ‘Online Clearing, We Love the King’ to increase public understanding that posting, sharing, or clicking on online contents allegedly defaming the monarchy are considered as ‘online criminal offenses’ under Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the lèse majesté law.