The Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD) in Thailand has ordered that more than 500 websites to be blocked or taken offline, as they contain information that violates the country’s lese majeste law.
500 websites banned
Many of those websites can still be accessed abroad, as the servers are not closed down if those sites are outside Thai jurisdiction.
Pol Maj Prakrom Varunprabha, an inspector with the TCSD, said they issued orders to shut down 510 web addresses between January 5th and last Tuesday for violating the lese majeste law.
Many of the links however, are actually on sites such as Facebook or YouTube, which means that the individual HTTP links must be blocked, or the government must work with those companies to remove the offending content in Thailand. Police have to seek permission from the court and translate the court’s permission document into English before submitting to the websites in question.
The highest number of lese majeste acts were found on Facebook, followed by video sharing sites such as YouTube.com and DailyMotion.com, free blogs (like Blogspot.com and WordPress.com), file sharing sites (such as Mediafire.com) and web boards (such as Pantip.com)
For websites hosted in Thailand, the authorities can check the offenders’ IP addresses by working with the website owners or the Internet companies, after which the police may search the locations where the suspects may be. However, for servers located abroad it’s much more complicated, as they have to seek cooperation from the parties concerned.
Unfortunately, it’s relatively easy to mask or hide your IP address by simply using a VPN, logging into a remote server in another country, and then posting whatever content you want, so it’s generally an uphill battle to apprehend suspects who are abroad.
Lese majeste offenders can face between three and fifteen years in jail, plus a maximum additional prison sentence of five years or a fine of 100,000 baht for violating the computer crime law.
SOURCE: Bangkok Post