Down the ‘Single Gateway’ Rabbit Hole to Transparency Battles Unfought

Fan art from Facebook page DrawAndDxng depicting the single gateway as an evil character wearing a coconut shell controlling all the data streams.

Many things have been said about the Single Gateway super surveillance project since the story broke this past September.

The Good People who run the country have been arguing about the need for mass surveillance in light of current laws that leave them powerless to protect the general public. They have evoked Applebaum’s four horsemen of the Infocalypse – child porn, terror, crime and drugs to justify the need for increased powers.

Let’s forget the few pros and many cons of the gateway project for a moment and review the trail of evidence that led to its public disclosure, a Pyrrhic victory for transparency if it prompts the government to better hide its tracks and find even darker corners to conduct the public’s business.

Yes, there is clear, publicly available information that would suggest not only that General Happiness knows about the project, but actually ordered it expedited. Many times.

 

The Cleric and His Four ‘Mistaken’ PM Orders

There are suggestions that some of the evidence has been, at the least, subjected to overabundant brevity in its public presentation at the highest levels to mislead the public.

The official narrative goes that there was never an order regarding the Single Gateway and any appearance otherwise resulted from a clerical error.

However, there are at least four Prime Ministerial orders to the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, or MICT, regarding the Single Gateway project published on the Cabinet Secretariat website.

On June 30, 2015, the Cabinet Secretariat issued a Prime Ministerial order to the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security to solve the “problem” of gaming addiction and, in the same paragraph, the MICT and Justice Ministry to set up a Single Internet Gateway to control the flow of information from overseas.

Read: Govt ‘Gateway’ Denials Contradict Cabinet Resolutions

Next month on July 21, 2015, the Cabinet Secretariat issued another order directing the MICT to expedite the establishment of the Single Gateway as per the June 30 cabinet resolution.

Two Tuesdays later on Aug. 4, 2015, the Cabinet Secretariat published a third PM order that included acknowledging progress by the MICT on the Single Gateway and ordering them to engage with the people and answer questions, so the public would be cooperative.

Three meetings later on Aug. 25, 2015, the Cabinet Secretariat published order No. 4 which insisted the MICT expedite the project and demanded “significant” progress by Sept. 30, the fiscal year-end.

 

Section 1.2 of the June 30 cabinet minutes includes this section: The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology must also work with related agencies, such as Ministry of Justice and Royal Thai police, to proceed with implementation of a single gateway to be used as a device to control inappropriate websites and flow of news and information from overseas through the internet system.
Section 1.2 of the June 30 cabinet minutes includes this section: The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology must also work with related agencies, such as Ministry of Justice and Royal Thai police, to proceed with implementation of a single gateway to be used as a device to control inappropriate websites and flow of news and information from overseas through the internet system.

 

Four orders from Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha published on the official Cabinet Secretariat website would be cast-iron proof most anywhere on this planet, but here in Thailand where fact-checking is a long-lost art form, few bothered to confront General Happiness with these orders and most took his word as gospel.

And that word was a whopper: The Single Gateway did not exist but rather was a clerical error.

For some, that was the end of the story. Some bumbling bureaucrat in the cabinet secretariat mistakenly issued an order in the name of the prime minister. Repeated four times, that would make it epic bungling worthy of Homer (Simpson – not Iliad).

 

Following the Rabbit

But while most were happy to take the red pill and wake up blissfully unaware in the Matrix, a few of us took the blue and are only now scratching the surface to see how deep the rabbit hole goes – and it certainly seems deep.

And deeper invariably means darker, which is even more worrying.

The government no longer publishes full cabinet resolutions. In what has much further ramifications than just a little Single Gateway, if one is to look closely at the myriad of quasi-cabinet resolutions that have been published, one discovers they are actually mere summaries instead of the full, legally binding resolutions.

Some say summary; some say summary of the important points.

Either way, it is not the legally binding cabinet resolution.

To be fair, this practice did not start under this military government.

Now the real question people should be asking is, have other minor inconsequential details been omitted in the published cabinet resolutions that have been acted on by that bungling, clueless, scapegoat in the cabinet secretariat, who could still be making these clerical errors?

What else has been enacted and then obfuscated and omitted by governments, unelected or elected, that has been kept secret, other than the Single Gateway?

 

Related news stories:

Thailand to Welcome New Digital Ministry
Junta Approves 20 Billion Baht for Internet Broadband, Gateway
Gamers, Geeks on Epic Quest for Internet Freedom
Govt ‘Gateway’ Denials Contradict Cabinet Resolution
Junta Readies ‘Great Firewall of Thailand’