Microsoft and lese majeste

2 12 2015

A reader drew our attention to a report from 17 November that deserves some consideration. A Privacy International investigation has exposed the alleged role played by Microsoft in Thailand in human rights abuse.

Privacy International investigated the case of Khatha Pachachirayapong (คทา ปาจริยพงษ์) who was convicted on 25 December 2012 and sentenced to 4 years jail for lese majeste-like offenses under the Computer Crimes Act.

His case goes back to 14 October 2009 when there were a series of rumors that the king was seriously ill or had died. This caused a sell-off on the stock exchange in Bangkok, amounting to about 8%. Immediately, the then Abhisit Vejjajiva-led coalition government began a search for those responsible for the rumors.

The report states that a letter from Microsoft, sent in response to a Thai government request, was used in the prosecutions case.

This raises serious questions about the role of private companies in protecting their users’ right to privacy. The report asks:

Where called upon to provide information under laws routinely criticised around the world and by international organisations for their detrimental effect on fundamental human rights such as privacy and freedom of speech, Privacy International urges these companies to resist these demands from the Thai military Government and to develop clear rules for how and when they cooperate with governments, democratic or not.


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23 12 2015
Junta pushes online fear | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] also pointed a finger of blame squarely at Microsoft Thailand for divulging users’ private or identifying information in many of her cases. “The […]

23 12 2015
Junta pushes online fear | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] also pointed a finger of blame squarely at Microsoft Thailand for divulging users’ private or identifying information in many of her cases. “The […]

8 01 2016
The Dictator’s world of authoritarianism | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] the monarchy, so the response this time will be a test of company backbone. We expect it to crumble, as Microsoft appears to have colluded with The Dictator’s regime. For the moment, both companies have “declined to […]

8 01 2016
The Dictator’s world of authoritarianism | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] the monarchy, so the response this time will be a test of company backbone. We expect it to crumble, as Microsoft appears to have colluded with The Dictator’s regime. For the moment, both companies have “declined to […]