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1 Mar 2022

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Thailand's plan for a national internet gateway could slow down its digital transformation

Thailand is exploring its options to combat cybercrime and other forms of criminality. Currently, it is considering creating a national internet gateway. The project appears to be similar to Cambodia's plans for such a single gateway. Following protests from both local and international tech companies, the Cambodin plans were postponed last minute.

Cybercrime is a problem in Thailand, however. Authorities have been working to combat this issue. In the past year, the police say they have busted 3,000 to 4,000 such cases. It is interesting to note that they often did so with assistance from their Cambodian counterparts.

At the same time, the creation of a national internet gateway might curtail the future growth of Thailand's digital economy. Trust is crucial to the digital transformation of a country's infrastructure and economy. A single government-managed gateway to the internet might cause unease among civilians and businesses alike.

Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn, minister of Digital Economy and Society (DES), told the Bangkok Post that a national internet gateway could help the government deter foreign cyber criminals from attacking Thai. Minister Chaiwut also stated that the Thai government currently has limited capacity to block information deemed illegal in Thailand from reaching target audiences.

Thailand is not considering a national internet gateway for the first time. The idea was brought forward by the military-installed government in 2015, but faced strong opposition by various groups.

Photo credit: Florian Wehde

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