A recent New York Times article written by Thomas Fuller talks about the internet censorship of critical regal remarks in Thailand. More specifically, the government of Thailand searches the internet for content that is degrading to King Bhumibol Adulyadej and, once found, blocks the websites and censors the pages. Considering the depth of the internet and new technologies, this is an evidently difficult task requiring a focus on a wide variety of internet sources such as blogs, facebook, personal pages, and internet articles in general. This difficulty is compounded by the fact that many royal insults are done anonymously and are done in clever ways such as via metaphors or even in code.
Surprisingly, this massive task is undertaken by a team of 10 people working for the Office of Prevention and Suppression of Information Technology Crimes; however, it has been affectionately entitled the war room. While some might think the task tedious, these ten workers consider their work a calling rather than a profession as they genuinely love the king and want to protect his reputation. In fact, support for the king is extremely high in the country to the point that many consider the king as a god like figure. Hence, it is not surprising that the war room takes its job very seriously.
As with any form of internet censorship, there is concern on the effect that these regulations will have on civil liberties. This is especially concerning as the definition of what is offensive can vary great. As such, it is only logical to worry about if the government will use this as a way to crack down on undesirables, though it is important to note there is no mention of this actually occurring in the article. Nevertheless, concern is evident. Since implementation, scholars and writers have expressed concern over the policy and the war room receives between 20 and 100 complaints a day. With the 70,000 pages that have already been verified and shut down, it is hard not to be concerned that the war room is abusing its power, especially considering the fact that there can be very broad definitions of what is deemed regally offensive.
For source article, see here.