By KASAMAKORN CHANWANPEN
The National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA) on Monday accepted a proposal that would require social media users to identify themselves and for the establishment of a “watch centre” to monitor netizens 24 hours a day.
The junta-appointed assembly voted 144-1 to pass the proposal.
The suggestions are described as “quick win” measures to be implemented by 2019. Other long-term social media measures will be part of the junta initiative’s 20-year national strategy, including the establishment of a Big Brother-like “central social media watch centre”.
The NRSA’s media reform committee, which was responsible for the controversial media regulation bill, proposed the social media reform report Monday.
In proposing controls on social media, the committee 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”, the committee said, although it did not specify what that institution was.
For the two-year “urgent” period, the committee proposed controls for online access involving the registration of cell phone numbers, especially pre-paid phones.
Registration could include not only the 13-digit citizen identification number but also fingerprints and facial recognition.
The proposal also included establishment of a central social media watch centre, citing “inappropriate” use of social media. A Cyber Security Coordination Centre has already been set up, but the report noted that its more than 300 officers had not been able to work effectively because they lacked the proper technology.
After being approved by the NRSA, the report will be submitted to the Cabinet for further review.
Republished with permission from The Nation