Thai Internet Website Blacklist Leaked

It may be another way to prove the futility of an internet blacklist mandated by the government.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

With governments like Britain and Australia pushing for blacklisting websites under the guise of “protecting the children”, it seems as though the leaking of Thailand website blacklist couldn’t have come at a better time.

The report from Wikileaks coupled with a link to the proof that the blacklist was leaked says that over 1,203 webpages were blocked for political reasons. Of the web pages blocked, over 800 were YouTube clips as well as an additional 200 mirrors of the videos in question. Some of the videos in question were US presidential candidate campaign videos. The reason the websites were blocked was because they supposedly violated the “les majeste” law, or, criticizing the King.

When it comes to censorship, China has been the most heavily criticized because of the infamous “Great Firewall of China” A number of criticisms were the fact that keywords like “democracy” would trigger such censorship in the first place, though large companies like the BBC have also been blocked as well. This latest turn of events might put the censorship spotlight on Thailand, but it should be noted that it really proves how futile it is to create blacklists to control what citizens view online – a growing trend in non-Asian countries as well these days.

Update: It appears as though Denmarks secret website blacklist was also leaked on Wikileaks. While it seems like it’s more honest in blocking legitimately illegal content, Wikileaks notes that there is no real oversight to prevent legitimate websites from winding up on there including a Dutch transport company’s website. Wikileaks notes that the Thailand case proves that it’s entirely possible for any given government to use the blacklist for purely political reasons rather than to “protect children”. The list is from February of this year.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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