Thai Clamp-Down on Internet Traffic Worries Companies
Author: James Hookway, Wall Street Journal, Published on: 15 September 2011
Global companies are growing increasingly worried that Thailand's recent clamp-down on Internet traffic might drag down the country's economic potential and make it more difficult to expand there...[Critics say] Internet monitoring laws...[are] being used to police the Web for political content...Thai authorities say...[some Thais] break the country's strict laws prohibiting criticism of...King Bhumibol Adulyadej and his family. There's been an explosion in prosecutions in recent years, undermining the country's democratic credentials, analysts and free-speech activists say. The Internet industry, though, is more worried about a case involving [a] local webmaster...on trial for allegedly violating Thailand's Computer-Related Offenses Act by being too slow to delete anti-royal messages at a popular Web forum she runs. She faces 20 years in prison if she is convicted, and denies the charges..."By holding an intermediary liable for the actions of its users, this case could set a dangerous precedent and have a significant long-term impact on Thailand's economy," the Asia Internet Coalition said in a statement released this month. The Hong Kong-based group was founded last year by eBay, Google, Nokia Corp., Microsoft Corp. unit Skype, and Yahoo to lobby on Internet policy issues around Asia...Thailand's complex relationship with the Internet is mirrored across other parts of Asia as governments look for ways to cope with more and more people going online.