Thailand’s telecoms regulator and the police have given the country’s ISPs the authority to monitor and block web pages that threaten national security or criticise the monarchy without having to seek approval from authorities.
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) and the police’s special branch met with Thailand’s major ISPs and approved the measure that covers all types to internet content, the Bangkok Post reported. Previously ISPs required a court order, requested by the police, to block content.
Anytime content is blocked, ISPs must immediately advise the NBTC and the ICT Ministry. If ISPs aren’t sure if content should be block, they need to consult with the NBTC, the regulator said.
An NBTC representative said the new measure, however, doesn’t mean it will stop monitoring web content, the Post said, noting that the move is a response the lack of cooperation from overseas media firms in taking down content the government finds offensive.
Naver, the South Korean firm behind the LINE social messaging services, said last week that the ICT Ministry wasn’t monitoring its network since it encrypts all messages.
The NBTC also reiterated that it will push for the 4G auction to be held by the end of August since the 900MHz of spectrum held by AIS expires on 30 September.
The NBTC plans to auction 42.5MHz of airwaves – 25MHz of 1.8GHz spectrum and 17.5MHz in the 900MHz band.
An NBTC representative told the Post that it first needs approval from the National Council for Peace and Order (the military government) before it can prepare for the auction.
The junta, which took power in May, pushed back the auctions, scheduled for last year, until this year. Another delay would mean that the NBTC would need to put measures in place to handle AIS’ 2G customers.
The NBTC said in mid-November it plans to move ahead with the 4G auction this year as it sees the additional spectrum as key to boosting operators’ capacity and serving the government’s digital economy goals.