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Planned security centre raises rights concerns over internet surveillance

Khuon Narim / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Lieutenant General Hor Sam Ath. MOI

The Interior Ministry’s information technology department is planning to establish a new centre dubbed the Security Operation Centre to monitor security issues on the internet.

However, right group Licadho said it is concerned that the centre will be used to restrict freedom of expression.

Lieutenant General Hor Sam Ath, director of the IT department, said in a report that a meeting with Interior Ministry officials was held yesterday to discuss the creation of the SOC.

Lt Gen Sam Ath said the SOC’s purpose is to monitor online threats across all digital platforms, including smartphones and personal computers.

“We will be able to monitor and control all information from the SOC,” he said. “SOC will search and respond to potential incidents before it can happen, including data loss prevention.”

Recently, the authorities have been cracking down on supporters of Sam Rainsy, ahead of his planned return next month. Some of those arrested expressed support on social media sites like Facebook. They are accused of plotting to overthrow the government.

Am Sam Ath, monitoring manager with the rights group Licadho, yesterday said he is concerned because the SOC will be used to restrict freedom of expression.

“The creation of the SOC in this circumstance is more to control rather than protect privacy on social media sites because we have seen monitoring by police officials,” Mr Sam Ath said. “I think the SOC will affect freedom of expression because rights are now being restricted.”

General Khieu Sopheak, spokesman for the Interior Ministry, declined to comment yesterday.

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