Cambodia’s internet gateway could intensify surveillance and censorship

The new National Internet Gateway could also affect the operations of tech companies.

Cambodia’s sub-decree on the establishment of the National Internet Gateway (NIG Sub-Decree) was signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 16, amidst concerns raised by several stakeholders about its potentially adverse impact on e-commerce and human rights.

The sub-decree was drafted in July 2020 and discussed with telecommunications operators in August. It proposed the rerouting of internet traffic into a single gateway to facilitate revenue collection and enhance services. In December 2020, the Asia Internet Coalition expressed concern that some provisions of the sub-decree could be used to automatically block online content.

Forty-five civil society groups issued a signed statement after the signing of the sub-decree, warning that it could lead to intensified surveillance and privacy violations. They cited Article 6 of the NIG Sub-Decree, which authorizes the blocking of online connections or content deemed to “affect safety, national revenue, social order, dignity, culture, traditions and customs.”

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