Govt mulls internet gateway to fight crime

Govt mulls internet gateway to fight crime

Digital Economy and Society Minister Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn
Digital Economy and Society Minister Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn

The Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (DES) is mulling a national internet gateway, claiming it could help the government curb cyber criminals overseas targeting people in Thailand.

DES Minister Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn told a House meeting on Friday that a "single internet gateway" can deter cybercrime and other criminal activities.

Mr Chaiwut said the government only has limited capacity to block information deemed illegal in Thailand from reaching target audiences.

Criminals can easily identify potential victims over the internet, he said. He said victims can be exploited by gangs who aim to entrap them in various cons.

"Along with considering amending the Computer Crime Act, the government is studying the possibility of using a single internet gateway as a tool to better control the flow of illegal information online to improve the safety of internet users," he said.

A study was being conducted to identify which parts of the law will have to be changed.

"The government has been working to curb cybercrime. Over the past year police have busted 3,000 to 4,000 such cases with the help of their Cambodian counterparts," he said, referring to crackdowns on call centre gangs operating remotely from the neighbouring country.

Because these gangs knew they would have been arrested promptly if they had operated in Thailand, they chose to operate from the neighbouring country instead, he said.

The government appreciates the active cooperation offered by Cambodian police in helping track down the criminals to face legal action in Thailand, he said.

Many victims in Thailand have lost millions of baht to these gangs, he said. The stolen money is siphoned off in a few minutes using digital means, making it difficult to trace later.

The national internet gateway idea was brought up in 2015 by the military-installed government and faced strong opposition by various groups, including ones launching cyber-attacks on the government's websites in protest against implementation of the idea.

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