Police officers stand guard at the Municipal Court of Phnom Penh, Cambodia on January 16, 2020. (Reuters/Samrang Pring)

CPJ joins call for Cambodia government to revoke plans to establish an internet gateway

On May 16, the Committee to Protect Journalists joined more than 30 free expression, technology, and human rights groups in a statement calling on the government of Cambodia to revoke a decree that would establish a gateway capable of monitoring all internet traffic in and out of Cambodia.

The Sub-Decree on the Establishment of the National Internet Gateway (NIG) was passed on February 16 and would allow government-appointed NIG operators to block or disconnect any online connections, retain traffic data for a year, and provide other network information requested by authorities. The decree allows authorities to issue penalties to non-compliant telecommunications operators.

According to the statement, while the exact technical and operational infrastructure is still unknown, there are serious concerns that the gateway will enhance the government’s censorship capabilities, allowing it to scale up its website blocking. It further states, “The gateway is also likely to have a chilling effect on online communications and generate self-censorship among critical voices and independent media outlets who fear increased surveillance, harassment, and reprisals.”

The full statement can be found here.