Cambodia’s political situation may be getting worse. Human Rights Watch (HRW) has reported new measures by the government to control the internet:
The Cambodian government’s new National Internet Gateway will enable the government to increase online surveillance, censorship, and control of the internet that will seriously infringe on rights to free expression and privacy, Human Rights Watch said today.
On February 16, 2021, Prime Minister Hun Sen signed the sub-decree on the Establishment of the National Internet Gateway. The sub-decree requires all internet traffic in Cambodia to be routed through a regulatory body charged with monitoring online activity before it reaches users. It would allow for “blocking and disconnecting [of] all network connections that affect safety, national revenue, social order, dignity, culture, tradition and customs.” The grounds for action are both overbroad and not defined, permitting arbitrary and abusive application of blocking and disconnecting powers.
“Prime Minister Hun Sen struck a dangerous blow against internet freedom and e-commerce in Cambodia by expanding the government’s control over the country’s internet,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director. “Foreign governments, tech companies, e-commerce businesses, and other private actors should urgently call on the government to reverse the adoption of this harmful sub-decree.”
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