NBTC Watch: Net idols summoned; fingerprints for SIMs

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ITEM: Thailand’s NBTC (National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission) has summoned representatives from YouTube, Facebook, content creators and even net idols to discuss an OTT regulatory framework next week following a ruling on May 24 that OTT services are a form of broadcasting that falls under the NBTC’s remit.

Broadcasting sub-board chairman Colonel Natee Sukonrat told reporters that he had summed between 50 to 100 content creators, and insisted that he had an open mind as to how the regulation would take shape. The only deadline is that a regulatory framework would have to be ready by August.

Natee said that YouTube, Twitter and Instagram users with a large number of followers will be classified as OTT broadcasters, though the exact threshold of users is yet to be decided. He said anyone not registering themselves as an OTT broadcaster after the deadline will be guilty under both the Computer Crime Act and the Broadcasting Act and will be immediately blocked.

NBTC to require fingerprints for SIMs

ITEM: NBTC Secretary-General Takorn Tantasit announced that fingerprint registration for new SIM cards will be mandatory from next year, on the grounds of national security.

The rollout will start in the Islamic-separatist infested deep south, where bombings happen regularly. All mobile phone users who wish to use their phones in the south of Thailand need to register their fingerprints by October or have their service cut off.

By the end of the year, 30,000 fingerprint machines are expected to be delivered to telcos, who will have to fork out 8,000 baht per unit. However, Takorn said this would not affect end users, as the cost is a tax-deductible expense and can be deducted from the telco’s 1.5% USO fees.

Thailand’s Ministry of Interior already has a fingerprint database of every citizen, while the government already requires mandatory ID card verification for issuing SIM cards.

Takorn said the data collected would be compared to the Ministry of Interior database and stored in a secure NBTC database.

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