Private details of expats in Thailand revealed in unprotected data release

Published:  29 Mar at 6 PM
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Several thousand expats living and working in Thailand’s southern provinces are worried about their personal security following an embarrassing gaffe by a software developer.

The data leak comprised an interactive map of the region with the exact locations, jobs, professions, nationalities, passport numbers and other personal information of over 2,000 resident expat workers clearly shown. The unprotected web page, found on a supposed Thai Immigration Police website last Sunday evening, went viral until it was taken down on Monday morning.

Expats whose private details were exposed for the short time the site was online are being advised to protect themselves by altering their personal information if possible. Thai immigration officials told the media the site and the offending page were a test run for an internal police database at present under construction by a private firm of web developers. Although the web page was apparently protected, a social media user had no trouble entering the site by guessing the numerical admin password 123456.

Many of the expats affected are now questioning as to why the data was collected and why it was published online. Others are guessing that the data was being used to flush out visa overstayers following the March 20 crackdown. Tracked down by a Thai netizen group, the web developer responsible for the fiasco said the page was intended as a demo to be viewed and discussed by immigration officials who had commissioned the site. As yet, Thai Immigration has not responded to requests for clarification.

Although Thailand is still a popular tourism destination, during the past two years the new government has been accused of mistrusting expats living in the country. The latest crackdown, at present underway, is supposedly aimed at foreign criminals and visa overstayers. The official slogan for the campaign is ‘Good guys in, bad guys out’ – seemingly harmless in itself, but enough to give those whose personal details were revealed online a reason to be concerned about a possible putsch involving the ‘good guys’ as well as the bad.
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