Cambodia Puts Controversial National Internet Gateway Plan on Hold

Under proposed rules, Cambodian ISPs would be required to route all of their internet traffic through a single, government-controlled chokepoint.

The Cambodian government has postponed the introduction of a controversial National Internet Gateway (NIG) that would grant the government a choke hold over the country’s internet traffic. The gateway – a sort of “kill switch” for the Cambodian internet – was expected to come online today, but a spokesperson for the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications told local media that its introduction had been postponed due to a combination of COVID-19 delays and concerns that it would disrupt online traffic.

“We have to prepare to install and order equipment in order to prepare and create the gateway. And we have to give licenses to any company that the government understands that has the ability to create the gateway,” spokesperson Meas Po said, according to the Voice of Democracy. “That’s why it can affect the traffic.”

Po denied the postponement of the NIG had anything to do with the severe criticism that has greeted the plan since the release of a sub-decree establishing the gateway on February 16 of last year. According to the sub-decree, the gateway will be controlled by a government-appointed regulator, which will support authorities with “measures to prevent and disconnect all network connections that affect national income, security, social order, morality, culture, traditions, and customs.”

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