The Thai government is recruiting its own citizens to spy on each other on social media — and even rewarding child "Cyber Scouts" when they tell authorities about any insulting comments they see others making about the country's royal family.
According to a new report released Monday by the human rights watchdog group Privacy International, the information being gathered is helping Thai police bring charges of "lèse majesté" — a long-standing law in Thailand in which anyone who "defames, insults, or threatens" the top members of the royal family faces s prison term of up to 15 years.
Following the 2014 coup led by General Prayut Chan-o-cha, there was a significant increase in the level of online surveillance carried out by the National Council for Peace and Order, the junta created to govern Thailand. The introduction of an updated Computer Crime Act in 2014 gave police wide-ranging authority to monitor online activity.
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