Thailand’s Justice Ministry and Corrections Department are in damage control after footage showing inmates living in overcrowded conditions ended up on YouTube. Authorities still did not know how the recording was leaked.
Thai media reported that the video was broadcast live on YouTube for several hours by an account with the name BigBrother’s Gaze. (All video’s have since been deleted). It showed prisoners’ activities from several different security cameras.
Thailand’s Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin said the Corrections Department had informed him of the incident.
In an attempt to quell criticism the Justice Minister tried to point out that similar incidents have happened in other countries. Including Australia and Russia. He also said he was concerned the leaked footage may have “violated the inmates rights.”
CCTV systems installed by private-sector contractors
Corrections Department Director-General Police Col. Narat Sawettanan ordered the prison to turn off the surveillance camera system and investigate the incident. He also ordered the prison commander to file a complaint with the police.
A source in the Justice Ministry told the Bangkok Post that the CCTV systems in Thai prisons were installed by private-sector contractors. The system is connected to the internet giving authorize real-time access. Prison chiefs and senior officials can view the live CCTV footage on their mobile phones.
The minister said it was possible the access code was leaked to outsiders. As a result they accessed the system and posted the recording on YouTube. — Damaging the “reputation of Thai prisons” as the footage shows the overcrowded conditions.
The video, labelled “Thai Bangkok prison Security Came live” was posted on YouTube on Tuesday. It showed claimed real-time footage from several locations in Lang Suan Prison, showing the daily lives of inmates. The story was later picked up by The Associated press and Yahoo News.
The YouTube account BigBrother’s Gaze had 1.27K subscribers and 11 videos that have since been deleted. In the about us section which has had 45,569 views an apology was posted.