Crack down on illegal online content

The Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA) is joining forces with seven major online service providers to introduce new guidelines for tackling the spread of illegal content on the internet.

Students using computers at the innovation learning centre in Buri Ram's Nang Rong district. The Electronic Transactions Development Agency is joining forces with online service providers to stem the spread of illegal content on the web. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

The move is the country's first attempt to create a transparent code of conduct for stemming illegal content on the web, said ETDA director Surangkana Wayuparb.

The ETDA on Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding with the PKI Association, Thailand Information Security Association, Internet Foundation for the Development of Thailand, Thailand ISP Association, Thai e-Commerce Association, Google Asia Pacific and eBay Inc.

Mrs Surangkana said the organisations would form a self-regulated online community, which will create and promote clear procedures on how to deal with illegal online content, particularly related to pornography, terrorism and drugs, as well as deception, spam and phishing, and intellectual property rights.

She said there had been no common agreement or standards to deal with such content in the past, or to help providers categorise exactly what is and is not legal.

“We are working to settle the details of the code of conduct within one year,” Mrs Surangkana said. 

She added that providers would have a responsibility to remove illegal content within 15 days after the code of conduct is implemented.

Currently, providers are not required to remove illegal content from websites within a designated time limit.

In the broadcasting and radio sectors, Mrs Surangkana said industry-regulation is already successful. But the online community has yet to follow suit.

Anan Kaewruamwong, chairman of the Thailand ISP Association, said the collaboration represents up to 90% of local content providers in the country.

In the past four years, at least 50,000 Thai URLs or web addresses, were required to remove illegal content, mostly relating to pornography or content that posed a risk to national security.

Srida Tanta-atipanid, manager of Internet Foundation for the Development of Thailand, said the foundation had received around 300 requests from overseas organisations asking it to remove child pornography hosted on Thai websites over the past three years.

Related search: Electronic Transactions Development Agency, self-regulation, internet content, pornography

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Writer: Suchit Leesa-nguansuk