Youtube now ordered to identify users who insulted Thai King - case not closed

Thailand's government is demanding that YouTube help identify the users who posted insulting videos of the country's king. The demands from Thailand's Communications Minister, quoted in local press, reopen a controversy that has been widely reported as over.

YouTube, a Google subsidiary, earlier agreed to remove four video clips that clearly insulted Thailand's King, in a letter to Thai Communications Minister Sitthichai Pookaiyaudom.

Sittichai initially said he would halt planned legal action against YouTube. However, later on Friday, he told Thai media that authorities would order YouTube to reveal the internet protocol (IP) addresses of the users who posted the videos. Police would then investigate the case, and potentially file charges against the perpetrators, he said.

The new demands appear to present a serious dilemma for YouTube and its parent, Google. By revealing user identities to governments in free speech case, firms like Microsoft and Yahoo have earned public scorn and much damaging publicity. A Chinese Yahoo user is suing the company after being imprisoned in such a case.

mockup of youtube logo and logs (FOR ILLUSTRATION PURPOSES ONLY - NOT A REAL LOG OF VISITS TO YOUTUBE)Serious Crime

Insulting the monarch is a serious offense in Thailand. Offenders are sometimes jailed. The law allows for 15 years imprisonment on each charge, although fines and lighter sentences are generally imposed. The current Thai King is extremely popular with the vast majority of the population.

YouTube has been mostly inaccessible in Thailand for more than a month, due to blocks imposed by the government. It is unclear if these blocks will be lifted, as YouTube has only removed some of the videos that the Thai government objected to. However, it appears that YouTube has removed all videos that were clearly illegal under Thai law. Some of the remaining videos eight videos have already been removed. The others, YouTube's statements suggest, are critical of the Thai authorities, but not of the King.

Can the video's creators be found?

YouTube allows users to submit videos which can then be viewed by others. An email address is required to open an account, but there are no formal identity checks on people who post videos. An IP address will only help identify a user if it can be combined with access data and customer records from the internet service provider (ISP) that was used.

While Thai authorities can almost certainly use local laws to force a Thai ISP to divulge this information quickly, foreign ISPs are much less likely to comply. Currently, the location and nationality of the person or persons who posted the offending videos is not known.

Some have suggested the posting of the videos was prompted by Thailand's jailing of a Swiss man for defacing posters of the King earlier this year. A few days after being sentenced to ten years imprisonment, the man was pardoned by the King, deported and forbidden to return to the country.

Chilling Effects

Thai Video makers have already begun to complain that in blocking YouTube, the government is also preventing Thai people from seeing a wide variety of public service videos. One example is 'The way to learn: another view from Thai children', a series posted on YouTube which looks at changes in Thai education, in particular of ethnic minorities. The documentary's creators say they are now searching for another outlet for their work.


Why the MSM still doesn't report this? YouTube

Why the MSM still doesn't report this? YouTube thinks the negotiations are over, they're totally mistaken. The Thailand military government is just going to keep blocking them until they give up the guys who made those videos.

The King is said to not even

The King is said to not even be in favor of this law. This stupid fight makes him look bad. I don't think this is accidental. There is a lot going on under the surface in Thai politics that can't be seen.


The king is too sensitive and should get over it, some people won't like him and some will, it is common sense and everyone knows this. the government should stop wasting their time and effort chasing down people who have different political views. this does not look good for the king or the govt