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Turbulence in Thailand? The Thai Digital Civil Rights Movement and a ‘Pro-Human’ Contract for the Web

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Social Transformations in India, Myanmar, and Thailand: Volume II

Abstract

In November 2019, Sir Professor Tim Berners-Lee’s social ‘Contract for the Web’ was launched by the Web Foundation. In July 2020, the Manifesto for Web Science echoed a similar view, calling for ‘pro-human’ Web governance. This chapter demonstrates how the Internet has become a tool of liberation and oppression by looking into the development of a Thai digital civil rights movement that unfolded across the same period and continues as of 2022. It suggests a state of ‘digital reverse culture shock’ driving an emancipated generation of Thais, previously limited by conservative values and educational inequality, a situation much like 1960s America. Despite constitutional rights to expression, we contend Thai citizens are increasingly prosecuted by Internet ‘blue pencilling’ that seeks to retrospectively adjust laws to militarise the Internet and limit personal expression with respect to it. This hinders those in vulnerable fringes of Thai society most, and, within this chapter, we question the veracity of western web governance agendas in Thailand with the aim of promoting dialogue about digital freedoms, privacy and justice for Thai citizens.

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Day, M.J., Skulsuthavong, M. (2022). Turbulence in Thailand? The Thai Digital Civil Rights Movement and a ‘Pro-Human’ Contract for the Web. In: Yamahata, C. (eds) Social Transformations in India, Myanmar, and Thailand: Volume II. Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-7110-4_16

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