Over a hundred recruited into junta’s 24/7 online watchdog

Thailand’s Digital Ministry has increased its staff at an online surveillance centre tasked with searching for lèse majesté content as the country mourns its late King. 35 per cent of lèse majesté websites have already been blocked, according to the Digital Minster. 
On 19 October 2016, Prajin Chantong, the caretaker Minster of Digital Economy and Society (DE), said that the Ministry has appointed 118 new staff to the Cyber Security Operation Center (CSOC), a 24/7 online monitoring center, reported Manager Online. 
The center is responsible for suppressing lèse majesté content online during the mourning period for King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
According to Prajin, 60 of the staff were recruited from the Technology Crime Suppression Division, in addition to 30 from the DE Ministry and 28 from the Telephone Organisation of Thailand. 
“We’ve co-operating closely with the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commissions and internet service providers both inside and outside the country. This operation is to prevent people who are already in mourning from being subjected to further mental impact,” said the ED Minister, “We don’t want everything to be shown in public because it is an inappropriate time. Please understand that we are seriously working 24/7.”
Prajin claimed that the CSOC detected 52 lèse majesté webpages on 14 October and another 61 the next day. 35 per cent of them have already been blocked, Manager Online reported.
“Some [of the lèse majesté webpages] have been blocked under the authority of NCPO Announcement No. 26. The rest, which breach the Computer Crimes Act and Article 112 of the Criminal Code [the lèse majesté law], are undergoing the evidence collection process,” Prajin stated.
The Minister also urged the public not to share and download lèse majesté content online since such actions are illegal.  
Prajin Chantong (Photo from Manager Online)


Since 2007, Prachatai English has been covering underreported issues in Thailand, especially about democratization and human rights, despite the risk and pressure from the law and the authorities. However, with only 2 full-time reporters and increasing annual operating costs, keeping our work going is a challenge. Your support will ensure we stay a professional media source and be able to expand our team to meet the challenges and deliver timely and in-depth reporting.

• Simple steps to support Prachatai English

1. Bank transfer to account “โครงการหนังสือพิมพ์อินเทอร์เน็ต ประชาไท” or “Prachatai Online Newspaper” 091-0-21689-4, Krungthai Bank

2. Or, Transfer money via Paypal, to e-mail address: [email protected], please leave a comment on the transaction as “For Prachatai English”