NTC can punish ISPs for not blocking improper web pages: DSI

The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) is seeking more cooperation from relevant agencies and business groups to prevent inappropriate content on the internet.  The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) says the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) is authorized to withdraw or suspend the licenses of the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) who do not cooperate in blocking inappropriate web pages.

On 3 Sept, the Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Ranongrak Suwanchawee, spoke at a seminar on blocking inappropriate and illegal websites, saying that the Ministry would work more closely with the NTC which has the authority to provide licenses to ISPs and providers of internet gateway service. 

‘The MICT alone cannot handle the blocking of the websites, because there must be various agencies working together and inappropriate websites, including those which are subversive to national security or the Nation, Religion and King, quickly spread on the internet.’ the Minister said.

According to Ranongrak, the MICT has set up the Operations Centre to Monitor the Threat of IT Crimes, concerned with issues of national security, and the Internet Security Operation Centre (ISOC), which has a hotline service 1212 to receive information on inappropriate content on the internet from the public.

The MICT is also seeking cooperation from about 100 companies which provide internet-related services, the Thai Internet Association, the Thai Webmasters Association, the NTC, the police and the DSI to monitor and block inappropriate or illegal websites.  

The seminar was attended by about 180 representatives of these companies and agencies.

Pol Col Suchart Wonganantachai, Deputy Director-General of the DSI and chair of the committee overseeing the blocking of websites, said that currently the most dangerous were gambling websites which were the most easily accessible.  He called for cooperation from all parties, especially the NTC which he said is authorized to revoke or suspend the licenses of internet-related service providers. 

However, according to Pol Col Suchart, the NTC has never done anything, claiming that the MICT has never notified it about which ISPs are connected to inappropriate websites, hence its inaction, but from now on there will be close cooperation. 

There are currently 100 ISPs and 10 internet gateway service providers licensed by the NTC.  So from now on, with court orders to block websites, any ISP who fails to act accordingly will be punished by the NTC, he said.

Pol Col Suchart said that to deal with inappropriate websites a filtering system must be in place, which required a budget of about 100 million baht.  The filtering system is already in place in the US and Israel.  The DSI is now developing such a device, but the details cannot be revealed for now.  He believed that the device would improve the effectiveness of the blocking by 90%.

So far the MICT has blocked 18,390 web pages of which 10,578 are considered as affecting national security, 7,690 contain pornographic content, 50 advertise drugs, and 72 offer gambling services.   


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