Apparent data leak leaves foreigners in southern Thailand anxious
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Apparent data leak leaves foreigners in southern Thailand anxious

A PURPORTED immigration data leak has set alarm bells ringing among foreigners living in southern Thailand, raising safety and security concerns with the sharing of sensitive information such as passport details and home addresses.

The leak emerged on Twitter recently with one user highlighting that the authorities had put the names and addresses of the residents online, leaving many baffled as to why the information had been divulged for public viewing.

SEE ALSO: Thailand: Sensitive info about tourists revealed in 2nd online data leak

On the micro-blogging site, Scotland-based journalist and university lecturer Andrew MacGregor Marshall called on affected residents to take steps to protect themselves by altering or deleting the information on the website, which displayed the information on an interactive map. The information apparently included details of those based in all southern provinces from Chumphon, to Yala and Narathiwat.

He also claimed he had been able to obtain the web administrator’s password for the website involved and had since been able to take it down.

Following the discovery, Marshall had pointed out that the site had been developed by a firm which had posted the details online since Aug 2015, but a check by Asian Correspondent revealed that the firm has taken down its Facebook site.

Marshall also shared the discovery on Facebook, which had gained over 200 “likes” and 124 shares at the time of publishing.

“Many thanks to the person who cracked the administrator password of the website, and the person who used this password to access the site and delete all of the data. The website is now offline. Now we need answers on why this data was published in the first place,” he said on Facebook.

Marshall’s post had also gained a series of responses from other netizens facing the same predicament.

“What was the reason given to give out this info? Was it a mistake? It seems a very irresponsible thing to do,” said Claudia Intama.

Another commenter said that the authorities used the online details to conduct door-to-door visits to check on potential overstayers whose visas had expired as part of the crackdown on visa abusers, which started on March 21 last year.

“Personally, I don’t have much respect for foreigners who overstay their visa. I’m expecting them at my door some time as well. I have nothing to say against the crackdown, it’s what they want and I’m in no position to say anything. However, I’m not sure about putting all this info online, probably without any consent,” he wrote.