Myanmar Citizen Files Data Privacy Complaint Against Telenor With Norwegian Government Agency

A UK-based non-profit digital policy institute is facing criticism for its decision to invite a representative of Myanmar’s telecoms regulator to a three-day online regional forum.

The event, organized by the International Institute of Communications (IIC), kicked off on Tuesday with a panel discussion on “Citizen and Consumer Protection” attended by Than Htun Aung, Deputy Director General of the Department of Posts and Telecommunications of the Myanmar.

As an official in a department of the Ministry of Transport and Communications, Than Htun Aung represents a regime that has been accused of using its control over the country’s telecommunications networks to suppress citizens’ rights.

Justice For Myanmar, an activist group campaigning against the junta, called its inclusion in the 2022 Asian Telecommunications and Media Forum “astounding”.

“Than Htun Aung should be punished for his role in electronic surveillance, censorship and internet shutdowns,” the group’s spokesperson, Yadanar Maung, told Myanmar Now.

Allowing him to attend the event gave him “legitimacy on the international stage” and amounted to “reputation laundering for a terrorist junta”, she added.

Since last year’s coup, Burma’s military has steadily tightened its control over internet access to prevent opponents from exercising their digital rights.

Just days after taking power last February, the regime attempted to introduce a new cybersecurity law that imposed draconian restrictions on the use of online services and stripped away privacy protections.

Forced to back down due to backlash from influential business leaders, the junta responded by amendment the Electronic Transactions Act 2004 to include many of the same provisions as the proposed new Act.

Last month, shortly before the anniversary of the coup, the regime renewed his efforts to pass a cybersecurity law that would give him even more power to persecute his opponents.

If passed into law, the bill will make it illegal to post on social media that threatens “national solidarity” or constitutes a personal attack. It also prohibits the use of virtual private network (VPN) technology, digital currencies, and malware.

Over the past year, the regime has accused hundreds, if not thousands, of people, including public figures and ordinary citizens, of inciting the posting of messages online expressing support for anti-terrorism resistance activities. Rebellion.

Since overthrowing the country’s elected civilian government, the coup regime has also killed at least 1,500 civilians and arrested more than 12,000, according to figures compiled by the Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners.

Justice For Myanmar has called on IIC’s strategic partners, including Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Amazon and The Walt Disney Company, to withdraw their support for the organization until it clarifies its position on Myanmar’s regime. .

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) – whose chair, Nerida O’Loughlin, also took part in Tuesday’s roundtable – responded to the controversy by saying it planned to use its participation in the forum to “reiterate Australia’s grave concern over the dire and deteriorating situation in Myanmar.

In a statement, the ACMA also called on Myanmar’s military regime to “immediately cease violence against civilians and other serious human rights violations, engage in an inclusive dialogue for Myanmar’s peaceful return to the path of democracy and to release all those arbitrarily detained”.

However, Myanmar Now was unable to confirm whether the agency actually followed through on its stated intentions, as the press was not allowed to attend Tuesday’s roundtable.

In response to a request from Myanmar Now to attend, the IIC said the event was “a closed meeting for statutory regulators only”.

Myanmar Now is an independent news service that provides free, accurate and unbiased information to the people of Myanmar in Burmese and English.