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Digital control freaks

Using the single gateway to deal with lese majeste is akin to using a shotgun to kill a fly, and will put Thailand behind the rest of the world.

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon said the single internet gateway is a must. It is apparent that the single gateway and the amendment to the 2007 Computer Crime Act aim to control the flow of information online. Not only will internet privacy, internet speed, and any and every transaction -- commerce or leisure -- online be affected, but it also contradicts the government's thrust of turning Thailand into a digital economy, making the country uncompetitive in and unfit for the digital globalisation age.

In Thank You For Being Late, The New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman explained that while trade in physical goods and financial products has flattened in recent years, globalisation as measured by "flows (of digitised information)" is soaring.

This year saw Facebook with a staggering 1.79 billion users, approximately a quarter of the world's population. The single gateway goes against creative and disruptive companies that are bringing huge economic and social value to the world's economy. Think of Twitter, Airbnb, Agoda, Amazon, Alibaba, Instagram, PayPal, Uber, Wikipedia, WhatsAPP and the benefits their users enjoy.

Granted, Thailand is undergoing a transitional period, and the government is sensitive about lese majeste cases. But using the single gateway to deal with this is akin to using a shotgun to kill a fly. The costs and consequences of this will be more grave and far-reaching than blocking sensitive information from local Thais. It will put Thailand behind the rest of the world.

Instead of controlling information, the government should rather fight information with information, much like Wikipedia where users contest the accuracy of information until consensus is reached. Let Thais decide for themselves which information is distorted, which is credible, what to read and what to see.

The single gateway is not a must. Digital globalisation is.

Edward Kitlertsirivatana


Murky legal matters

Re: "Sanit's boozy hangover", (Editorial, Dec 14).

While I understand the principle expressed in the editorial that it is a serious potential conflict of interest for a top (or any) policeman taking money from a leading alcohol producer, I believe it was incorrect to further say that it was no different to taking a monthly envelope (perish the thought!) from a bar, massage parlour or from a man who owns a casino.

Surely, there is nothing illegal about a man owning a bar or a massage parlour, but it is illegal in Thailand to own and operate a casino?

What is interesting, however, is that the police chief actually declared to the National Anti-Corruption Commission his "advisory" role with the alcohol producer. How many public officials, one wonders, may have undeclared "advisory" roles (the mind boggles) with above-mentioned massage parlours and illegal casinos.

Martin R


Who'll stop Putin?

With the seemingly irresistible rise of the insidious influence of Putin's Russia on the world stage, there doesn't seem to be any concerted effort to counteract it by Western powers. Even the US seems to be edging towards some sort of pally relationship with Vladimir's reborn Russian Empire.

Does all this portend a future world dominated by two hyper-powers, the PRC and the United States Of Russia?

Bernie Hodges


Chinese takeaway

Re: "China knows the score", (PostBag, Dec 13).

China indeed knows the score. Gone are the days of forced military takeovers, such as Tibet. These days China eyes its neighbours peacefully, in order to swallow them up. Thailand is one such an example. Chinese built railways, more Chinese companies are being established here, and more Chinese military equipment being sold to the Thai army.

One does not need a soothsayer, a star gazer, or a fortune teller to see the future.

Vasserbuflox


Get the facts right

Re: "Massive media fail", (PostBag, Dec 14).

The claim that "the whole establishment and mainstream media actively campaigned for Ms Clinton against Mr Trump" has been comprehensively demolished when presented with facts.

Anyone who watched, for example, CNN's coverage cannot fail to have noticed the many pro-Trump advocates populating the airwaves every day of the campaign.

Dr Frank


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