Repression into the future

4 07 2017

PPT marvels at the capacity of the military junta’s puppet National Reform Steering Assembly for rubber-stamping. Voting 144-1, the NRSA has decided to spend oodles more taxpayer money “protecting” the monarchy.

As part of the junta’s 20-year national strategy, the NRSA has “decided” that exceptional measures, likely to be very costly, are necessary to “protect” the monarchy from social media.

The measures accepted include a requirement that “social media users to identify themselves” and the establishment a “central social media watch centre.”

The NRSA “cited growing problems such as a lack of media literacy, abuse and the ‘irresponsible exercise’ of rights and freedom, which had had social, political and economic impacts as well as affected the nation’s ‘main institution’…”.

Forget the guff about social and economic impacts, this is about the monarchy and repressing regime political opponents.

Registration of mobile phones and linking to social media accounts will be required because it will “have a psychological effect on users and could prevent them from exhibiting undesirable behaviours online…”.

The “central social media watch centre” would operate to monitor, delete, suppress and arrest those guilty of “inappropriate” use of social media. It seems the existing “Cyber Security Coordination Centre” is insufficient as “its more than 300 officers had not been able to work effectively because they lacked the proper technology.” So more “advanced technology” is needed to “trace and examine photographs, video, audio and text on YouTube and Facebook, allowing the identification of users posting the content.”

Military censors

30 11 2012

Others have commented on this story, yet it still seems worth a note at PPT. The Bangkok Post report that the Ministry of Defense, as the Army, is displaying a penchant for the extending political control to social media, which has been reasonably unfettered in Thailand.

By “reasonably unfettered” we mean that there have been some lese majeste and similar cases arising from Facebook, but that the huge volume of posting, including political posting, has largely been left untouched. As the report notes, “Thailand 14th in the world for number of Facebook users. There are now more than 17.6 million Facebook users in the country, according to the company, a rise of more than 3.3 million in the last six months.”

Major General Bunjerd Tientongdee, a deputy director of the Department of Defence Information and Space Technology, is quoted as saying that “the increasing number of social media users was causing concern among cyber security experts.” Given that a vast amount of the stuff posted at Facebook is vacuous sludge, why should the military be concerned? Apparently, the more or less democratic uprisings associated with the “Arab Spring uprisings last year” which saw the widespread use of social media by opponents of incumbent regimes have scared the brass in green and probably many of the old elite troglodytes as well. Banjurd worries that “Thailand would follow a similar course if social media were used for political purposes.”

He expressed the brass’s concern “that the widespread use of social media could lead to public misinformation.” Of course, everyone knows that the military are opaque and masters of the production of misinformation. What the brass want is to maintain control of the “misinformation.”

Everyone should worry when this unprofessional and corrupt bunch of arms salesmen begin to talk about increased control and censorship, for they are a dangerous lot best suited to the suppression of opposition.