Cambodia’s internet gateway raises fears of China-style surveillance

When implemented, Cambodia’s National Internet Gateway will hit privacy and hamper the work of human rights defenders amid a crackdown on dissent, critics say.

Sovann Chhay was 16 when he was arrested in Cambodia’s capital last year for writing comments on the Telegram messaging app that were deemed insulting to government officials. The autistic teenager was jailed for nearly six months.

He was among at least 35 people arrested over their online activity in Cambodia last year, according to the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR), which expects the numbers to surge after the launch of a new China-style internet gateway.

All internet traffic in Cambodia will be routed through the government-run National Internet Gateway, allowing authorities to monitor online activity, intercept and censor digital communications, and collect users’ personal data.

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