In the wake of two incidents where personal information was leaked onto the web including names, addresses, passport information, flight numbers, and even the most recent vaccine shots, ex-pats who live in Thailand are now being formally asked by the Thai Immigration Bureau to provide more personal information.
Once again the government has justified their actions on the grounds of national security and terrorism, which a large body of ex-patriots consider a blanket cover to pry into their personal affairs and even to deter foreigners from settling in Thailand.
The form, which Chatchawan Wachirapaneekhun, deputy commissioner of the Immigration Bureau’s crime suppression unit, says is not compulsory “If they (foreigners) aren’t doing anything wrong” includes bank account details, what kind of cars they drive, what social media they use and even the places they frequent, “such as clubs, restaurants, shops, hospitals and other places.”
Chatchawan Wachirapaneekhun went on to say, “Considering entering the ASEAN community and the increasing terrorism problem, some people escape after committing a crime and we cannot track them down.”
Taking into consideration that the Thai government’s ability to protect the personal data and privacy of foreigners in the country and its reputation for lackluster cyber security, with government websites repeatedly hacked and information stolen from them and that BitDefender has ranked Thailand the 5th highest risk in Asia for cyber security threats, it’s hardly surprising that most, if not all, ex-pats would be seriously against the move.
It is also a move that is more than a little implausible as the very people the government is ‘supposedly’ attempting to track down will, if forced, lie on the form.