ICT website down ahead of planned attack

ICT website down ahead of planned attack

The censorship logo is pictured from a laptop on Sept 25, 2015. (EPA photo)
The censorship logo is pictured from a laptop on Sept 25, 2015. (EPA photo)

Browsing the website of the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) on Wednesday night, internet surfers found this message: "Internal Server Error", or "This webpage is not available."

The website, www.mict.go.th, was shut down hours before netizens vowed to attack the site at 10pm in retaliation for the government's plan to launch a single gateway to control access to all websites in an attempt to monitor the flow of information about Thailand from abroad.

Messages have spread on the social media that netizens opposing the controversial plan would protest by attacking the ICT website, despite warnings that they could be in violation of the Computer Crime Act.

A source at the ministry did not rule out the possibility that the shut-down was because of an attack, saying it was also likely that the website could not be opened because it was overloaded with visitors monitoring the movement of the planned attackers.

The ministry was monitoring the situation, the source added.

Critics of the single gateway idea have slammed the government, saying it crippled freedom of information as the regime tried to tighten its grip.

Other websites which were shut down included www.thaigov.go.th of Government House and www.mof.go.th of the Finance Ministry.

Deputy Prime Minister ACM Prajin Juntong on Friday tried to ease concerns over the issue, saying the project was in the early stages with no implementation plans.

The idea began in a cabinet meeting on June 30 during which Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha assigned relevant ministries to seek measures to block websites deemed ''inappropriate'' and those offering gambling and games online.

The ICT and Justice ministries were among the key agencies set up to establish a single gateway to "control inappropriate websites and block the upload of information from other countries on the Internet", according to a document signed by cabinet secretary-general Ampon Kittiampon dated July 3, referring to the results of the cabinet meeting on June 30.

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