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Thailand Cracks Down On Twitter, Facebook, Etc. 130

Posted by timothy
from the and-everybody-loves-the-king dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The ongoing poitical turmoil in Thailand has inspired the country's Ministry of Information, Computers, and Telecommunications to issue a stern warning that all users of the Internet in Thailand must 'use the internet in the right way or with appropriate purpose and avoid disseminating information that could create misunderstanding or instigate violent actions among the public', that 'all popular websites and social networks such as facebook, twitter, hi5 and my space [sic] will be under thorough watch,' and that 'Violators will be prosecuted by law with no compromise.' Thailand has draconian anti-lèse majesté laws which are routinely abused in order to settle political scores and silence dissent, and recently implemented a so-called 'Computer Crimes Act' which appears to be almost solely focused on thoughtcrimes and censorship, rather than dealing with, you know, actual crime. Several Web forums have recently been shut down, their operators charged because they failed to delete 'harmful posts' quickly enough to suit the Thai authorities."
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Thailand Cracks Down On Twitter, Facebook, Etc.

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  • Re:Ah, Thailand. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nasajin (967925) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @04:36PM (#31849524)

    What haven't you given to the world??

    A freely communicating populace, with the right to self-determination.

  • Re:Actual crime (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Skyshadow (508) * on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @04:54PM (#31849772) Homepage

    By your logic you could criminalize or decriminalize anything just via a government's say-so. Political thinking dismissed that sort of justification three hundred years ago (you know, "unalienable rights"?).

  • Re:Matter of time (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @04:57PM (#31849836) Journal
    Unless the Thai government has changed policies recently, they probably have fairly little incentive to go after foreign nationals(unless they happen to be citizens of some country with which Thailand is having a serious diplomatic spat, or they are doing blatantly suspicious stuff). Thailand has a pretty decent size tourist sector, a strong economic dependence on exports, and some nice weather and cultural sights. As long as foreign nationals aren't getting involved in local politics, the state has very little to gain by harassing them and something to lose.

    It isn't 100% ironclad(and, in the case of severely paranoid or introverted societies, being a foreigner can increase your risk of political repression); but it is often the case, and I am given to understand that Thailand generally operates along these lines, that as long as foreigners come, see the sights, spend their money, and don't do anything overtly stupid(insult the king, hang out with some banned political party, spend their time photographing military installations), the locals have nothing to gain by trying to hunt them down for thoughtcrimes.
  • Re:Actual crime (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @05:00PM (#31849900)

    "If the people don't like it, revolt/"

    They are working on it.

  • Re:Actual crime (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BitZtream (692029) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @05:07PM (#31850014)

    I think you have a serious lack of understanding of how the government actually works.

    The government can in fact criminalize or decriminalize anything it wants. I'm not sure what you are refering to happening 300 years ago but every government in the world still has the ability to change laws. Thats part of its job.

    It is the peoples job (that would be society) to tell the government how we want the laws set. If we don't like them, its our job to get the government to change them.

    Society determines what those 'unalienable rights' are, and the government criminalizes or decriminalizes things to fit those 'unalienable rights'.

    The government doesn't exist without societies support.

  • Re:Matter of time (Score:4, Insightful)

    by raju1kabir (251972) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @05:07PM (#31850020) Homepage

    Don't be silly, email him if you want to email him.

    They are mainly looking for Thai-language material. The government doesn't care about foreigners unless they are seriously inciting trouble.

  • Re:Actual crime (Score:3, Insightful)

    by stonewallred (1465497) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @05:15PM (#31850134)
    Hmm, leave and go where? And using what form of currency to make that move? Nice abstract idea, but the practical aspect is that 99% of the world population lacks the means to just "leave" and go elsewhere. I live in the USA, the richest or one of the richest countries in the world. I have a successful business, very, very little debt, and between bank accounts, investments and credit cards, I could probably raise close to 250k cash, give or take a few thousand. More if I had time to sell real property such as vehicles, home, land, etc. And I don't have enough to just leave, unless I want to be a illegal and soon penniless beggar in some other country. And that is with an education and trade skills. I really doubt the average citizen of Thailand has the level of education or trade skills that I have, and nowhere near the money. Try a different idea rather than the Ann Rand BS you are spouting. The real world does not play out like a novel.
  • Re:Actual crime (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Arccot (1115809) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @05:17PM (#31850168)

    By your logic you could criminalize or decriminalize anything just via a government's say-so.

    Yes, by definition. From Wikipedia: "Crime is the breach of rules or laws for which some governing authority (via mechanisms such as legal systems) can ultimately prescribe a conviction." A government can many anything it wants illegal. Even flying pigs.

    Political thinking dismissed that sort of justification three hundred years ago (you know, "unalienable rights"?).

    Political thinking doesn't stop guns, knives, or the government from forcefully taking you into custody. Your rights are only "unalienable" when you and your allies protect them from your enemies.

    "Elbereth" is the only magic word of protection I know, and that works in Nethack, not in real life.

  • Re:Actual crime (Score:3, Insightful)

    by glwtta (532858) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @05:37PM (#31850388) Homepage
    Whether it's morally right or wrong is dependent on your society.

    Yeah, no, whether it's considered morally right or wrong in your society is dependent on your society, not whether it actually is.

    I'm not saying I like it, but I'll respect Thailand's right to govern itself.

    Their right to govern themselves doesn't actually impact on us having opinions on how they go about doing it.
  • Re:Matter of time (Score:4, Insightful)

    by corbettw (214229) <corbettw AT yahoo DOT com> on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @06:08PM (#31850780) Journal

    in the case of severely paranoid or introverted societies, being a foreigner can increase your risk of political repression

    You mean like Texas?

  • Re:Actual crime (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dog-Cow (21281) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @07:33PM (#31851622)

    You are confusing two definitions of the word right. And you're probably too stupid to understand.

  • Re:Actual crime (Score:3, Insightful)

    by formfeed (703859) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @07:35PM (#31851632)

    Whether it's morally right or wrong is dependent on your society.

    Ok, so you are a cultural relativist.

    I'll respect Thailand's right to govern itself

    At the same time you believe in universal rights.
    First problem.

    But then, these rights are not individual universal rights, you connect them to the (assumed) concept of absolute sovereignty for a government/nation.

    Hmm.

  • by fliptout (9217) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @09:18PM (#31852556) Homepage

    At all.

  • Re:Actual crime (Score:3, Insightful)

    by plasticsquirrel (637166) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @09:26PM (#31852640)
    Alright, so what is morally correct, then, rather than what is merely considered morally correct? Whatever you think is so, I suppose? And what is the real basis for that? Is there a magic book somewhere I can find on what is the absolute standard for morality? And if so, who wrote it?

    As far as I know it, morality is basically something that is considered by its very nature, by individual minds. Energy waves and empty space have no morality.
  • Re:Matter of time (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mjwx (966435) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @10:01PM (#31852900)

    My little brother is down in thailand now, and i want to e-mail him on this but am afraid to raise any red flags down there. I wonder when our government is going to try this in a national emergency, i am not trying to be a tinfoil hat guy. It does seem like something once done, its gone forever the true freedom of the internet.

    Dont worry about it.

    What is happening at the moment is a major civil disruption, it's not a civil war but people have been killed (less then 30). A large number of protesters are trying to overthrow the government. This may sound bad but this is how Thailand changes government, they've had 19 coups since 1932. The Government has declared a state of emergency and is attempting to quash the protesters (SOP for this scenario).

    But the thing about Thailand is that it is very nationalistic. THAIland is for THAI's, thus this is a THAI problem. So long as your brother, as a farang (Thai word for non-Asian foreigner) stays out of it he's perfectly safe. Most Thai's (taxi drivers, hotel staff, people on the street) will steer him away from the protests which are only happening in Bangkok. If he's in Phuket, Chang Mai or anywhere else he wont even know it's happening. You can email your brother, seeing as he's not Thai the Thai authorities wont care.

  • Re:Actual crime (Score:3, Insightful)

    by shutdown -p now (807394) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @10:10PM (#31852992) Journal

    I could probably raise close to 250k cash, give or take a few thousand. More if I had time to sell real property such as vehicles, home, land, etc. And I don't have enough to just leave, unless I want to be a illegal and soon penniless beggar in some other country.

    With 250k and skill, you wouldn't be a "penniless beggar" for sure. You would, of course, lose many things that you have achieved in USA, but not to the point of poverty or need.

  • by victorhooi (830021) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @11:20PM (#31853470)
    heya,

    Err, yeah, but there's a world of difference between "punching a senator" in the face, and cracking jokes about him. Sorry, but that's just a ridiculous comparison and makes no sense.

    And let's not spread fallacies here - the Lese Majeste law isn't really about threats, but also about anything that's considered disparaging in general. It's about violating the *dignity* of a sovereign or head of state.

    Quite frankly, I'm going to get out there and say I think it's just plain ridiculous, and shows how backward and outdated Thailand is (and before you cry claims of racism, racism, my family is from SE Asia). I can make a website senatorconroy-is-an-idiot.com.au, and put anything I want there (within reason, of course - say, no child porn or hate speech), and nobody's going to be kicking down any doors.

    I mean, look at this: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/australiaandthepacific/australia/6498119/Student-throws-shoe-at-former-Australian-PM-John-Howard.html [telegraph.co.uk]

    Some hippy idiot throws a shoe at John Howard. Admittedly, the man's throwing abilities is an embarrassment to aussies everywhere, but even then, Howard laughs it off, and says "he's never be on my team (i.e. cricket). Even George Bush brushed off the whole shoeing thing.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoeing [wikipedia.org]

    With your second point, I have no love for Thaksin, but I don't really find him much worse than any of the other tin-pot dictators in the region. And the last few leaders in Thailand have all been outsed for corruption or various other crimes. Sorry, but basically, they're all wrong, ok, so trying to paint the current regime as anything other than militarily-imposed dictatoriship is just dishonest.

    Cheers, Victor

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