Thailand Gears Up For Mass Social Media Surveillance

Plans to monitor the public posts of Thai users on Facebook, Twitter and Pantip are well underway by the government.

On January 19, the Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD) quietly published a series of documents to their website detailing their plans to put a lid on online criminal activity by the monitoring of certain users and even keywords mentioned in posts on Facebook, Pantip and Twitter, reports Khaosod English

So quiet was the publication of these controversial plans that they weren’t spotted by the Blognone website until 25 January – three days after the window for public comment had closed.

TCSD are seeking applications from companies to provide them with the software, hardware and training that would allow them to enact this mass surveillance.

Telecom Asia point out that the precise bid deposit specified in the plans of ฿640,320 (US$17,800) would suggest that system designs and costs were already been worked out and agreed upon prior to the publication of the plans.

The technology will allow TCSD workers to track individual users across the social media platforms and even to record the posts, comments, ‘likes’, tags and videos of certain targeted individuals.

The system will notify TCSD operatives when certain keywords are used by the targeted individuals and will allow them to track any other users interacting with the keyword posts, thus creating a network map of users and data in order to better identify online criminals.

The target list of individuals can be up to 500,000 users who will be identified through names, keywords and facial recognition. As the plans document how there are 22.2 million Internet users in Thailand, that would mean around 1 in every 45 internet users could be monitored.

The total cost of the tracking system is thought to total an eventual ฿12 million (US$330,ooo).

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