Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Facebook Thailand Ordered To Block 131 Web Addresses

According to The Nation, the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society has sent out 24 orders already and will send out 107 more as soon as they can and that they expect the url's to be blocked.
"Earlier, authorities gave Facebook until late yesterday morning to make the web pages inaccessible in Thailand while threatening legal action. However, none of the URLs were blocked after the deadline passed.

The 131 web addresses in question were deemed to have content insulting to the monarchy, threatening national security, depicting pornography or being involved in fraud.

With more than 40 million users, Thailand is among the world’s most active countries on Facebook." 
 Insulting the king has always been a serious offense in Thailand, though with the old king now gone and his son the new king, I imagine this will be a more difficult thing to enforce because the new king has offered through his wild living, plenty of things to criticize.

I found the following to be seriously inappropriate on Facebook's part:
"In response, Facebook requested an official English version of the court orders before it proceeded with blocking the addresses in Thailand."
 Can you imagine a Thai company telling a US government agency that they can't comply until they get official orders in Thai?  Facebook needs to  hire some Thai lawyers completely fluent in English.

The article quoted Facebook's official policy:
“When governments believe that something on the Internet violates their laws, they may contact companies like Facebook and ask us to restrict access to that content. When we receive such a request, we review it to determine if it puts us on notice of unlawful content. “If we determine that it does, then we make it unavailable in the relevant country or territory and notify people who try to access it why it is restricted,” a Facebook spokesperson said.

However, it appears that Thailand doesn't have a lot of power to act on its orders.
"Meanwhile, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha admitted yesterday that his government did not have the authority to suspend Facebook’s operations in Thailand following its refusal to immediately block the URLs. . .
'All we can do is ask for cooperation from foreign countries, the private sector and Internet service providers,” the premier said. 'It’s because we have no better options.' 

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