From WTF to LOL, Internet Reacts to Plan to Track Foreigners by Phones

The proto-rage of Peter Finch's Howard Beale in 1976's 'Network.' Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

BANGKOK — Telecommunication regulators signed off yesterday on a plan to track all foreigners in the kingdom using location-tracking SIM cards, and extraordinary ambition that left the internet searing and seething.

Online communities vented a mix of outrage, disbelief and eye-rolling after we reported the Office of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission was serious about a plan mandating all non-Thais use the new, special SIM cards.

George Orwell would have loved this,” read the first comment to our story on the ThaiVisa Forum, a popular place for expats with spleens in need of venting.

The majority of comments felt the stated purpose – fighting transnational crime – was either poorly thought out or disingenuous.


“As stupid as possible. A criminal would just turn off or throw away the sim card. Ever thought about this?” wrote Karl Vandenhole.

Others used social media to suggest it was impractical, easily circumvented by criminals, illogical or reeked of xenophobia.

“So I get my Thai friend to buy the SIM and give it to me?,”  Facebook user Andrew Smith raised the question. “Then I get my own Thai SIM and put it in my cheap second phone and leave it at home 24/7?”

Commenting on an official’s statement about the ease with which Thai nationals could be tracked and arrested, user @viewbkk tweeted “On a side note … OK, [then] go find Red Bull Ferrari boy,” in reference to the years-old cold case of Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya.

Sarcastic, much?


Because they ‘sound pretty good?’

They do begin and end with the same letter!


Security of the nation! (They say)



Related stories:

Plan to Track All Foreigners – Not Just Tourists – By SIM Cards Moves Forward