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    A general view of parliamentarian meeting at Parliament House in Bangkok. (File)

    Thai Gov’t Tightens Control Over Internet Content Despite Rights Group Criticism

    © AFP 2019 / THANAPORN PROMYAMYAI
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    Thailand Parliament has passed an amendment to the 2007 cyber crime law on Friday amid severe criticism, local media reported.

    BANGKOK (Sputnik) — The Parliament of Thailand has passed an amendment to the 2007 cyber crime law on Friday that would allow the government to maintain an extensive control over the content of Internet websites and social networks, despite strong criticism from rights groups and Internet users, local media reported.

    On Thursday, an Internet freedom advocacy group Thai Netizen Network submitted a petition against the proposed law to the government saying that it violates human rights.

    Despite the petition, the parliament held a ballot that resulted in 168 voices supporting the legislation and 5 abstaining, out of 220 members of the parliament, the Thai Rhat newspaper reported.

    ​The new amendments to the Computer Crime Act would permit the authorities to remove Internet pages if they consider that the content insults the monarchy or propagates extremist ideas. Moreover, the law would allow a special commission of five people monitor the Internet traffic in the search for illegal or immoral activity without court approval.

    More than 360,000 Internet users have signed the petition led by the Thai Netizen Network demanding to reconsider the bill. The group has warned that the amendments will broaden the government's surveillance powers and tighten censorship.

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    amendments, parliament, cybersecurity, internet, Thailand
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