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Government denies phone tracking

Government denies phone tracking

THAILAND: The Ministry of Defence has denied requesting mobile phone location data from the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) to monitor the COVID-19 outbreak in Thailand.

By Bangkok Post

Tuesday 9 June 2020, 08:56AM

Defence Ministry spokesman Lt Gen Kongcheep Tantravanich. Photo: Bangkok Post

Defence Ministry spokesman Lt Gen Kongcheep Tantravanich. Photo: Bangkok Post

Defence Ministry spokesman, Lt Gen Kongcheep Tantravanich, said the ministry has no authority to demand private mobile phone information, shutting down reports that the ministry had asked mobile network operations to send in their customers’ location data to assist with efforts to curb the spread of the disease.

However, the director of the Policy and Planning Office under the Ministry of Defence, Gen Raksak Rojphimphun, said instead that the NBTC and the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society have been nominated to supervise the tracking of mobile phone users’movements. He also said his office has met with all five mobile network operators to discuss the possibility of using users’ mobile phone data for disease-control purposes.

His comment came after independent academic Sarinee Achavanuntakul published a document from the defence policy and planning office, asking the NBTC to provide the mobile phone location data of newly confirmed COVID-19 patients over the last 14 days. According to Ms Sarinee’s Facebook post, the office also asked for the mobile phone numbers of everyone near them.


Gen Raksak justified the need to track mobile phone users by citing the cluster of infections at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium. “If we had the mobile phone information of all 2,800 people at the stadium, we would have been able to send a text to warn them immediately,” he said.

Addressing human rights concerns over location tracking, Gen Raksak said no data has been harvested as the programme is still in development.

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Kurt | 11 June 2020 - 12:06:08

As long it are army people residing/in control about civilian government matters (tourism) that long Thailand is biting her own tail regarding tourists flow from democratic countries. A tourist wants to be welcomed with 'thank you for visiting us', not with thai regimental rules. Yes, it is up to Thailand to rule Thailand. But this is not the way to promote international tourism.

Kurt | 11 June 2020 - 10:38:51

@Porites. How can there be outgoing international flights when Thai airports are closed for incoming international flights? To may european countries there is not even postal airmail service from departing Thailand.

LALALA | 11 June 2020 - 09:12:20

..Because there are many countries, especially in Southern Europe where EVERYTHING is cheaper and of better quality than in LOS. This includes healthcare - in some countries even for free - schooling, housing, vehicles, western food etc. etc....in some of this countries you are even offered citizenship after a certain period of stay in the country....and they have the healthier climate as well.

LALALA | 11 June 2020 - 09:06:54

The problem with LOS is that many will leave for good. I know several families here who normally leave for the rainy season and than came back for 6 month high/peak season. This year, and it started already before Covid, a lot of them left without any plans to come back. This are mostly people from Europe and the CIS, some of them stayed here several years. Why they leave ?
The answer is simple. 

ThorFinger | 10 June 2020 - 22:52:55

Once again, some are not caring what others are saying. We should ALL be concerned if someone is leaving for good, for especially here on the island of Phuket, we survive SOLELY on international visitors and the economy they feed. If all International business and visitors were to leave Phuket, it would return to jungle.....a very pretty jungle i may add, for i love this island i call my home.

LALALA | 10 June 2020 - 20:55:30

Porites... I know... as stated I am waiting for my chosen destination to open and reinstate visa free travel. But don't worry, this will happen soon. They already lifted all quarantine restrictions for incoming travelers per air which applies currently for repatriation flights only. 

Porites | 10 June 2020 - 18:17:32

@LALALA for your information you can leave Thailand anytime, there was never a stop of outbound international flights from Bangkok. 

LALALA | 09 June 2020 - 15:54:49

r u sure... 100percent.... as soon as regular international flights resume I will leave LOS for good....also my chosen destination is planning to resume international flights step by step beginning this month, so yes, I hope latest in July this nightmare here is over for me.

r u sure | 09 June 2020 - 14:35:17

@LALALA airport is opening soon Are going to carry out your threat/promise  to leave this dreadful place?

Kurt | 09 June 2020 - 12:29:35

When the LOS government denies something I always start to believe the opposite, until I see proof of truth.

Kurt | 09 June 2020 - 12:25:49

A lt general as a spokesman in a civil government matter? When is Thailand 'growing' out of military intervention in civil matters? This should be handled by Ministry of Home Affairs in a democratic government administration.

Kurt | 09 June 2020 - 12:15:41

I was laughing reading that General Raksak brought up Lumpinee Boxing Stadium as a example.  It was his colleague General (!) who is the manager of Lupinee Stadium who is responsible for what happend there! Well, a thai General as Lumpinee Stadium Manager, a financial upgrade! Is that a side job to earn extra income? Generals don't earn much. But if they do side jobs, do it good or stay home.

Christy Sweet | 09 June 2020 - 09:30:30

Seems people are more than will to track themselves  if they wish to visit just about any chain operated store, although I note no one has refused me entry when I indicated I do not carry a phone.  If you think this information will not eventually be  used in nefarious manners, I'll admire your good will but not your naivete. 

LALALA | 09 June 2020 - 09:11:17

Lying and denying is very common among politicians and in LOS. Its part of the so called culture.   ....,have been nominated to supervise the tracking of mobile phone users’ movements,...  
So they are doing it. They are tracking whatever the PM says. Little bit face saving though. I call it lying.


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