Twitter in the dock as Thailand steps up web censorship

Apologies for the radio silence over the past week or so, but I have finally made the move out to SE Asia, where I’ll be poking my nose into all things technology for the forseeabe future (as well as documenting some food-related escapades over at Death Noodle).

One of the first stories that attracted my attention was that of Thailand becoming the first nation to publicly back Twitter’s controversial latest move to assist governments in taking down restricted content in their geographies. It was first reported here in the Bangkok Post.

Thailand already censors its citizens by removing content which is pornographic or harmful to its royal family, or both, and now it will be teaming up with the microblogging phenomenon to regulate the web even more rigorously in the country.

I reported Twitter’s original decision a fortnight or so ago on The Register, claiming that the move could be seen by cynics as a thinly veiled attempt to cosy up to repressive regimes. Well, one such regime – although nowhere near China on the repression stakes – has certainly nailed its colours to the mast. Let’s see how many more come out and declare their intentions.

The worry is that they will certainly not be doing this in as public a way as the government of Thailand. While it has been a force for much social good in the world since its inception, Twitter let a lot of people down when it announced this decision. The fear is that the true effects of the much more malign and covert deals certain governments may striking  be will be difficult to document.

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