That Thailand’s current obsession with Internet censorship is stupid and makes much of the rest of the world continue to see it as a third world country, most of us already know. But, what some maybe don’t know is how this ridiculous censorship is being applied in Thailand, and how it’s affecting legitimate sites like CNN, the BBC and The Guardian, one of the UK’s top newspapers.
Today, I’ve been trying to do a search on ‘torrent sites’, for a client who needs an article writing about them. Imagine my surprise when I keyed this search into Google and then Bing, only to be met with the usual message that there was an ‘error’, in Thai-speak meaning the sites I needed had been blocked. But, not just torrent sites like piratebay themselves, oh no. Also links to news articles about torrent sites on the BBC, CNN and even San Francisco Gate.
Of course, in stupid Thai internet censorship style, these blocks come and go. One hour everything is blocked. Two hours later, I can access some of them. Plus, on top of that, just about anyone in Thailand who has half a brain knows how to evade the blocks anyway. It’s just the inconvenience that’s annoying.
When the Thai government finally realizes the idiocy of internet censorship and the absolute stupidity of applying blocks to legitimate search terms just because some sites allegedly engage in illegal activity, maybe then Thailand can be classified as a second world country (it’s never going to be first world – Thai government mentality will see to that).
Until then, I’m looking forward to my months-long trip back to Europe. It’s heaven to be in a developed country where censorship isn’t taken lightly and where, if applied, it’s usually applied with a bit more brain than most of Thailand’s censors seem to have.