At least 30 individuals targeted in espionage campaign . . .
Cybersecurity researchers report that at least 30 individuals in Thailand – young pro-democracy activists, scholars and members of civil society groups – were hacked by the NSO Group's infamous Pegasus spyware. In a report published Monday, Canadian digital rights group Citizen Lab and two Thai NGOs, iLaw and DigitalReach, outlined forensic evidence and findings of Pegasus infections among members of the public during the widespread pro-democracy protests between October 2020 and November 2021. Thai authorities have repeatedly detained, arrested, and imprisoned multiple Pegasus hacking victims for their political activism, protest participation, and criticism of the government.
Digital crackdown against protests . . .
Thailand’s government, headed by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, has increased efforts to monitor and control information and purge “inappropriate” online content since the 2014 coup led by Prayut, the former head of the country’s army. The government has applied the country’s strict lese-majeste law that prohibits defamatory comments against the Thai monarchy and the Computer Crime Act (CCA), passed by a military-appointed legislature in 2007, that prohibits users and publishers of "false" or "distorted" information online. These two pieces of legislation have, during the past two years of youth-led, pro-democracy protests, facilitated what domestic and international human rights advocates call a “systematic prosecution” of critics, dissidents, and human rights lawyers. Thailand lacks legal or policy measures that limit the government’s broad and evolving surveillance powers.
Prayut appeals to the public for office extension . . .
PM Prayut hopes to remain in office beyond the end of his term in March 2023, posting videos pledging to continue his work to grow the pandemic-battered economy. But Prayut and 10 cabinet ministers are facing a no-confidence motion from opposition parties, and cracks are appearing in his ruling coalition with the Thai Economic Party (TEP), a mid-size coalition member that says it will support the no-confidence motion. Prayut will likely survive the vote, as he has done on three previous occasions, and his coalition holds a comfortable majority even without the TEP. However, Thailand's slow economic recovery, depressed tourism sector, and ongoing COVID-19 waves have eroded support for the government. And with a quarter of Thais favouring the daughter of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra to succeed Prayut, more political instability could be ahead.