VPN use rises 640% as Thailand bans Pornhub and other adult sites

Pornhub Banned in Thailand

This week, the Thai government banned 190 pornographic websites, including Pornhub, under the guise of a cybercrime law called the Computer Crime Act, on the assertion that these sites violate Article 14(4) of obscenity and inappropriate content. 

Considering the country was in the Pornhub’s top 20 countries for traffic in the company’s 2019 insights, and the longest viewership (watching on average 11 minutes and 21 seconds), it’s no surprise that Thailand is in uproar. 

Protests in the capital, Bangkok, took place on Tuesday, and the hashtags #SavePornhub and #HornyPower trended on Twitter to demonstrate the dismay of the Thai people. 

Why the ban, really?

In a country that is hailed for its sex tourism, bringing in 10-12 percent of its overall GDP, the ban seems almost unprecedented – though the country has tried to move away from the sex industry and sex tourism in recent years. 

According to the Manushya Foundation, a social justice organisation fighting against ‘digital dictatorship’ in Thailand, it believes that the moral reasoning is unfounded, and that there’s another reason for the ban. The group speculates that a video of the king and his naked wife have been circulating on various platforms – inspiring a targeted attack on the freedom of pornography. The video is easy enough to find on Pornhub, but we’re not linking to it as it’s unverified.

Sneaking around the ban 

Similar to the porn ban in India, people have already looked into getting around the ban. Searches for VPNs rose by 640 percent the night before it came into effect, compared to the daily average over the last two months, an internet research firm told Reuters

What the (porn-loving) Thai people likely don’t want, is a similar approach to China’s crackdown, where it has already paid over $147,000 to citizens that report online porn.

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Oli Lipski

Oli Lipski

Oli is a freelance sex tech researcher based in London. With an MA in Sexual Dissidence, researching sex tech, and a BA in History, researching gender and sexuality, she has a keen understanding of the past, present and future of sex.

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