“Net slowdowns suggest government is monitoring traffic”

A very, very strange piece, published in Bangkok Post.

Thailand’s Internet is stuttering with a series of unexplained outages and slowdowns that suggest that the government is running a far-reaching programme to monitor its citizens’ online activities, one similar to the US Carnivore email policeware programme.

This can be seen in the way YouTube is now all but unusable for TOT subscribers, and how sending large email messages through a foreign server on port 25 often fails, while encrypted, non-standard ports or VPN access over the same network works fine.

A former security-consultant-turned-businessman in Thailand, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the entire situation was seriously damaging business confidence and may be on the verge of being illegal, especially for foreign businesses operating in Thailand. (Bangkok Post)

I don’t want to go with conspiracy theories… but from my small point of view, on the ground, I can only say that the Internet is not reliable. I use 2 ADSL lines, work and private, with 2 different operators… And there is no constancy. At all. Since a few weeks, it’s hell, particularily for web traffic.

Same for e-mail (delays).

No explanations given, excepted the classic “TIT” (This Is Thailand). If you do a few traceroutes, you can see that the traffic goes through “proxies”… proxies or monitoring systems ?

Are the operators totally clueless and definitely incompetent ? Or do they have to work on government orders ? It’s a mystery.

We can also say that the thai authorities do not care at all about laws and privacy, funny -but bothering- western concepts.

Anyway, thanks to the Junta last year, they enjoy a totally insane law (Computer Crime Act, read here). Basically, they can do whatever they want.

They didnt’t hesitate to ban YouTube, to close access to other websites, etc. Even without any court orders… Just the “fait du prince”. The IT minister (who is usually a perfect jerk) takes his telephone, and pressurizes internet operators, websites publishers etc.

Now they don’t care anymore to give proper justification, like for instance “fight against pornography” (an all-time classic)… They understood that it’s better to let the people talk, and do the dirty work behind, quietly.

This offensive against Internet started with Thaksin actually.

3 Responses to ““Net slowdowns suggest government is monitoring traffic””


  1. 1 Uri 6 June 2008 at 4:13 pm

    Good coverage, not seeing it anywhere else! Internet in Thailand is making me want to leave the country; can’t do any business with this choppy connection. Anyone here use satellite? I found that a lot of my java applications work intermittently and my e-mail seems to be doing some really strange things at log on.

  2. 2 kokothemonkey 6 June 2008 at 4:43 pm

    Thailand: Concerns Raised over Media Censorship in Thailand under Veil of Defending Monarchy

    A leading media rights watchdog, Reporters Without Borders, stated today (6 June) that politicians are imposing media censorship under the veil of protecting the country’s revered monarchy. This comes after the opposition Democrat Party filed a complaint against 29 websites, which led the Interior Ministry to launch an investigation last month. In April 2008, a Thai policeman also filed a complaint against BBC journalist Jonathan Head on charges of insulting King Bhumibol Adulyadej, due to Head’s close relationship with former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a military coup in September 2006 prompted partly by allegations that Thaksin had insulted the King.

    Significance: Media censorship in the guise of protecting Thailand’s stringent lese-majesty laws is not uncommon, with a prison term of 15 years for those found guilty. In 2007, video-sharing service YouTube was banned for five months after it posted videos that denigrated the King. However, the current round of media censorship comes amid the country’s heated political environment, as the government of Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej faces opposition over his plans to amend the military-drafted constitution and dissolution of his five-month government over the possible impeachment of former cabinet minister Jakrapob Penkair, who is accused of insulting the King and electoral fraud against his ruling six-party alliance.

  3. 3 thaicrisis 6 June 2008 at 4:56 pm

    I really hope that the mask will fall, at last.

    There is without any doubt a scary evolution in the country, whatever the camp (Thaksin/TRT/PPP versus… all the others) : the chinese way.

    It’s what I call the “fuckyoupolicy”. China, Burma, Vietnam you name it.

    Elites (be “communist party”, “junta”, “monarchy”)… without any conscience and ethics, who just rule “because it’s like that” and who don’t give a rat shit about what their people can think.

    This is not sustainable. This can’t be the “asian way”, to the contrary to what many people may think.


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Thailand Crisis

Coup, Economic slowdown, Terror In the South... The situation is worsening in Thailand. Bumpy road like often before.

But this time, it's different.

The key to understand the present turmoil is the inevitable... succession of King Bhumibol.


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