The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commision has scrapped a controversial plan that would require foreign tourists to use a special SIM card that would enable the authorities to easily monitor their whereabouts.
The plans, which were first announced last August, would have required all mobile operators to add location tracking software to SIM cards, which would enable the authorities to access all user call data, private messages and location information.
Mobile operators would then be forced to sell the special SIM cards to any foreigner who wanted to access local mobile services.
The authorities originally touted the move as being in the interest of national security and said a person would only be tracked should he or she overstay their visa or become a criminal suspect.
However, in its first public hearing held on Tuesday, the plan was met with fierce criticism, the Bangkok Post reported, saying it “could lead to a potential threat to travellers’ privacy”.
There were also concerns from the Tourism and Sports Ministry that the scheme could severely damage the tourism industry.
“We have stopped all related processes [including public hearings]for the tourist SIM card plan,” said NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasith.