Say hello to the Great (Internet) Wall of Thailand

Judging from reports on the newswires, it seems that Thailand is joining China in the Internet blocking stakes, investing around $9 million in creating a `filtering' firewall.

According to the Far Eastern newswires, the firewall will initially filter out around 1,000 Web sites which are deemed to be critical to the Monarchy of Thailand.

In Thailand, y'see, it's a serious offence (even worse than slagging off Manuel's granddaughter -Ed) to even think about criticising the Monarchy.

As the Associated Press puts it: the firewall will be an extension of Thailand's `lese-majeste' laws which state that anybody who insults, defames or threatens the Royal Family can spend up to 15 years in clink.

This mandate will, however, possibly be expanded to include blocking sites that contain child pornography and terrorist data.

Thailand communications Minister Mun Patanotai is quoted as saying the firewall will formalise Thailand's existing arrangement for blocking Web sites, which are blocked on a seemingly arbitrary basis by the country's multiple ISPs...