Cyber activists hit refresh on single gateway protest

Cyber activists hit refresh on single gateway protest

Cyber activists say they will launch a fresh round of attacks on state agency websites. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Cyber activists say they will launch a fresh round of attacks on state agency websites. (Bangkok Post file photo)

A group of cyber activists has threatened to launch a fresh round of attacks on state agency websites unless the government formally abandons its single internet gateway proposal by Oct 14.

An online campaign against the proposed gateway is being waged through a Facebook page called “Single Gateway: Thailand Internet Firewall”.

A message on the page said that despite “warnings” on Wednesday and Friday, the government was showing no sign of reviewing or scrapping its single gateway policy.

The group said it will give the government until 11.30pm on Oct 14 to review or scrap the policy, or will launch concentrated attacks. It would not reveal the targets of the planned attacks.

The group asked for public understanding of the need to send “signals” to the government, the latest of which could be “even fiercer and stronger” than the previous one, which disrupted several websites.

The group said it is necessary to defy the state's authority because it is attempting to impose a dictatorship in both real life and cyberspace.

“This is a retrograde step which will lead to an ineffectual state,” the group said, adding that it intended to demonstrate the administration could not control every form of public communication.

The group said it will try to keep any possible impact on the general public to a minimum, but warned allowing a single gateway to become reality would cause “immeasurable harm” to the economy, society and politics.

The group claimed the project had already been approved by the cabinet and that action to finalise the scheme is now under way. 

The group cited a circular it claims was issued by the secretariat of the cabinet on Aug 27 to ministries and state agencies informing them of the prime minister’s instructions.

Among the instructions was a cabinet resolution on Aug 4 telling agencies to accelerate the development of important projects this year, including the single gateway, which comes under the responsibility of the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology.

The group claimed the single gateway was approved by the cabinet on June 30 and was intended to control websites with inappropriate content, while restricting the flow of online information in and out of the country.

It also claimed the prime minister had instructed agencies to speed up implementation of the project and study relevant laws to support it.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Friday said he had not instructed any agency to move forward with the project.

He said nothing had been done yet, and the proposal was simply being discussed between state agencies concerned with security and the digital economy, including trade, investment and information distribution.

The single gateway was raised as one of several options, he said, adding the government is very worried about the human rights implications of the proposal so the public should not panic.

Government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said yesterday the prime minister had already explained the single gateway was only an idea being studied, and no formal order had been given to launch it.

The Pheu Thai Party’s acting deputy spokesman Anusorn Iamsa-ard yesterday called on the government to formally announce its decision to scrap the gateway project and apologise for having ever suggested it.

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