Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Disturbing Development

I don't know how to put this any other way except to say its very disturbing.

According to Khaosod English, Thai immigration is starting to collect personal information about all foreigners living in the Land of Smiles.  Article in full here.  This is currently being done on a 'voluntary basis' when one renews one's visa or to complete the 90 day report.  The information includes bank account numbers, social media information, car information, and even places where one tends to 'hang out'.    All this data collection is done under the justification of 'national security'.  

While its currently voluntary, its usually a first step in getting sometime to become mandatory.  I see it as a test balloon of sorts to see what the reaction is going to be.  If its going to make a huge stink, it will be pulled, otherwise expect it to be a future requirement for any kind of visa to stay.  I personally think its a invasion of personal privacy.  As long as I am following all the laws and regulations of the land, I should not have to tell authorities where I like to hang out or what social media I engage in, what kind of vehicle I drive, etc.  Even local Thais have more rights to privacy.

And with the recent system hacks of Expat addresses and nationalities on the same computer that will house this info, I sure as heck would not want something as sensitive as my bank account numbers sitting there.  I think there is going to be a big fight over this requirement or it will mostly be left blank when people fill out the form.

This is going to cause a lot of current and potential Expats to consider other alternatives for retirement, etc.  More on this later as this gets air time and hopefully in a couple of months when I renew my visa, it doesn't become mandatory and a big issue.  Heck, like they don't already know I hang out at the free buffets on Fridays and then go over to the lobby....

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