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Thailand Shuts Down 43,000 More Websites 166

An anonymous reader writes "Bangkok Post reports that the Thai government has now shut down over 43,000 websites deemed defamatory to the royal institution. Thai ISPs are warned to cooperate 'voluntarily' or lose their license. This is in addition to 17,000+ that were recently blocked for 'national security,' including both Facebook and Twitter accounts."
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Thailand Shuts Down 43,000 More Websites

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  • by sourcerror ( 1718066 ) on Friday June 18, 2010 @04:16AM (#32610626)

    Should have designed the internet to be more resistant to oppressive governments.

    It's a rather weird suggestion as the internet was designed by a government agency.

  • by sakdoctor ( 1087155 ) on Friday June 18, 2010 @04:22AM (#32610650) Homepage

    Not really. I remember somewhere the CIA publish literature, on how to organise an effective resistance against ... oppressive governments.

  • What an opportunity (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Zedrick ( 764028 ) on Friday June 18, 2010 @04:32AM (#32610688)
    I really wish this would have happened here, in Sweden. Then there would be a public outrcy, the monarchy would have been abolished in 2 seconds, and we wouldn't have to suffer this stupid coverage of the crown princess and her upcoming boring wedding every XXXXXXX minute on every XXXXXXX channel. Our king might be harmless, but he's hardly more important than uncensored access to the internet.
  • Kings and Queens (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Errol backfiring ( 1280012 ) on Friday June 18, 2010 @05:25AM (#32610872) Journal

    As a dutch resident, I can only say that I welcome the fact that we are a kingdom. Not because I particularly like our royal family, but because of the horror of the alternative. We have a few important political separations in our society:

    • Separation of church and state
    • Separation of law-making and law-enforcing powers
    • Separation of power and representation

    You won't learn the last one at school, but it is very important. We have a queen to do official openings, shake hands, etc. but she cannot make political dicisions (though technically, she has a very tiny amount of political power left)

    Now the alternative. A lot of polictical parties would like to do away with our monarchy and install a president with political powers. Like the situation in Germany, France, the USA, etc. The president of the USA can declare a war. Personally. Thank goodness our queen cannot.

    I gladly admit that a democratic monarchy is old-fashioned, expensive and looks like a lot of theatre. But there is hardly anything better.

  • by Alwin Henseler ( 640539 ) on Friday June 18, 2010 @05:36AM (#32610902)

    It's a rather weird suggestion as the internet was designed by a government agency.

    Well then perhaps a re-design would be in order since role of the internet has changed dramatically since then.

    Of course that would be impossible in practice - but some new protocols should be possible. Personally I'd wish to see something that integrates (anonymous) P2P-style file sharing with www-style browsing, secure connections between peers, strong authentication, and ease of use. Why? Because that would do away with a lot of ad-hoc solutions like BT, Tor, Freenet, anonymizing proxies, etc, etc, that we have today. None of which are 'perfect' or as easy to use as http protocol.

    Imagine having some source named "XYZ" on the internet, nobody knowing where "XYZ" is located or who it is. You start your browser, and go to 'home page' of XYZ. Then that file is fetched, but not from server somewhere, but from nearest peer (=ordinary user) that also has copy of said file(s). There's some big download on that home page, and when you save it, it gets fetched in BT-style swarming download. All the while using strong authentication that assures you the files you're getting are really from "XYZ" (whomever that may be), and not modified in transit somewhere. With secure connections between peers so that 3rd parties can't see who's getting what, from where.

    With http protocol, someone who produces popular contents is 'punished' for that deed when their hosting server gets pounded. Funding popular sites with advertising has kept the internet mostly free (as in beer). Web hosting companies & mirroring services distribute the load across many websites, P2P programs help with distribution of huge files. But each of those is centralised to some degree, vulnerable to attack, and the fundamental issues remain.

    Sure there would be some problems with such a protocol like database-generated pages, how to determine what's latest version, or how to send data back to original source. But it would be nice to have an integrated fix for above problems that's as easy & transparent to users as ordinary web surfing. Sites like WikiLeaks wouldn't have to worry about funding, torrent sites wouldn't have to move countries to avoid legal attacks, and government blocking wouldn't work. Sure it would make some illegal activities easier, but I think it would still be a net (no pun intended) positive, in the greater scheme of things. And ordinary website owners wouldn't have to worry about costs / diskspace / bandwidth requirements anymore (apart from uploading 1st copy of files).

  • Re:All I can hope (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jrumney ( 197329 ) on Friday June 18, 2010 @05:38AM (#32610914)
    Do you really think this is about ridiculing royals? Its about ridiculing the current government, and supporting Thaksin, who, corrupt as he may be, is still Thailand's last democratically elected president by any meaningful interpretation of democratically [wikipedia.org].
  • Re:All I can hope (Score:2, Interesting)

    by golden age villain ( 1607173 ) on Friday June 18, 2010 @05:41AM (#32610932)
    But I guess it will be long before the UK closes web sites on the ground that they are defamatory to the royal family.
  • by mjwx ( 966435 ) on Friday June 18, 2010 @05:46AM (#32610958)
    Wow, you must be sanuk at parties.

    If the Thai people are having their ability to critique the political leadership

    This is true, but it has little to do with the King and a lot to do with the wealthy Bangkok families who hold the real political power. The King of Thailand has as much political influence as the Queen of England and deliberately tries to keep the royal family out of politics (much like HRH Elizabeth II).

    The current party in power who ousted the PPP (Peoples Power Party) are funded by the wealthy Thai's and backed by the army (the real political decider in Thailand, if the army supports your party you will get in). Meanwhile the "Red Shirts" are backed and funded by ousted PM Thaksin Shintarwa (who was, until recently one of Thailand's wealthiest).

    Perhaps you should learn about a countries political situation before driveling on about it.

  • Re:Kings and Queens (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Zedrick ( 764028 ) on Friday June 18, 2010 @06:14AM (#32611064)
    I don't mind fake monarchy as such, or the king himself (I've met him twice, seems like a decent guy who would be better off doing environmental work of some kind). But I really wish we could choose out king (or queen) in an election. Like it was done in the old days, before the 16th century kings decided that they and their children were chosen by god. (it would also be nice/fun if we could cut of their heads if we got bored with them, unfortunately that's not really an option in the 21st century.)
  • by herojig ( 1625143 ) on Friday June 18, 2010 @06:42AM (#32611134) Homepage
    Most Thais view the monarchy as a symbol of national pride, mutual respect, and is part of their overall spiritualism. For example, before any movie begins everyone stands to the national anthem and images of the current King doing good deeds and meeting with the public. It reminds me much of how we used to say the pledge of allegiance in grammar school. Many Asian cultures (past and present) have rules against defamatory content re: the monarchy, with Nepal being one of them up until the current decade. It's really not a big deal to anyone over here...it's more a form of public politeness then anything else. As far as this being some form of political censorship, think again, it's not. The Thais have much more freedom to express their political views then say Americans. Can anyone imagine a protest in America where LAX was shut down for a week and filled with protesters against the Bush regime? How about the takeover of Times Square by the Tea Party People for a few weeks, complete with cots, barbed wire, and slingshots? It would never happen; the protestors would be shot (perhaps) dead and then carted away within a few hours. Hell, try smoking a fag on the beach in LA and u get a ticket! .

You know, Callahan's is a peaceable bar, but if you ask that dog what his favorite formatter is, and he says "roff! roff!", well, I'll just have to...