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Free mobile messaging apps like WhatsApp, Viber, Tango and Line regularly receive requests from various countries every year to provide them access to the messages being sent and received to and from their respective countries. Line, a fairly well known messaging app had received a similar request last year from the Thailand government.
Now, more than a year later, the Thai government claims they have complete access to monitor the messages sent and received by more than 30 million Line users in Thailand. They claim they can monitor over 40 million messages that are being sent each day by the Thai citizens.
The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Minister Pornchai Rujiprapa said in a press conference yesterday, “We can monitor all the nearly 40 million LINE messages sent by people in Thailand each day,“, as reported by TheNation. He said approximately 33 million people in Thailand use Line application. Pornchai further states, “If you receive LINE messages that offend the monarchy and threaten national security, you can lodge a complaint with police. We can trace where the messages originally come from,“. Other important figures present at the same press conference include Deputy Prime Minister Yongyuth Yutthawong and the Prime Minister and National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) chief General Prayut Chan-ocha.
The purpose stated in the request sent last year by the Thailand government was to help them gather data on people suspected in in crime such as trading arms and drugs. And also people who may challenge or question the Thai monarch.
Interestingly, a Line spokesperson contacted by TechCrunch denied having provided any user information with the Thailand government. Even assuming the fact that Line may have infact not shared any information with the Thai government, the controversy itself is bound the affect Line market in Thailand and probably other countries who may be reluctant to use the app. Line has not provided any further information or explanation on the matter besides plainly denying it.
Via – TechCrunch
Source – TheNation