Burma InternetMyanmar Internet
Dangers of Burma's Internet Madness
By 2010, a Burma IM cardholder was charged $1,500 and less than one per cent of the local community had Internet connectivity. There was widespread on-line harassment, and the army jungle, which then governed the land, supervised and eliminated reporters. The liberalisation of telecommunications has been launched by a liberalisation of the telecommunications market, and with the introduction of 3G technologies Internet subscribers are estimated to be reaching 38 million by the end of the year.
Attractions like parcs and teashops are full of teenagers leafing through Facebook on their cell phones. The unparalleled interconnectedness surge has enabled the Burmese nation to gain publicity from a flood of information and an open exchange of views on the country's policy changes. The exile press has come back and the number of peer-reviewed on-line publishing houses has increased.
Myanmar has seen the swift emergence of a malicious hacking scene targeting sovereign and other web sites, especially those that criticise the army or target anti-Muslim hatred atrocities. However, the army is still a mighty actor, largely isolated from the state. Rising of a mystical Internet crowd that seems resolved to shut its opponents up is raising issues about the boundaries of freedom of expression in the new Burma.
Soon after the racial dispute hit the western part of the nation in July 2012, the website of my then-person, the former employership, the Burma People' s Voice of Burma (DVB), a Thai exiled press group, was destroyed by citizens' militia members who named themselves the Blink Hacker Group. "This seemed to be a reaction to the use of the phrase "Rohingya" by DVB, a very controversial concept that describes a repressed Islamic majority that has been brutalised by the Myanmar army for many years.
Related assaults were then directed against the mass media, reporting openly on the escalation of persecutions against Burma's minority groups, culminating near the 2015 elections. Bureaucracies have never responded to these assaults. They have been compelled to invest in tedious safety precautions, even if they are constantly reminded of deadlock.
Unleashed Research Labs, a Swedish-based cyber-security company protecting the Swedish Broadcasting Corporation and other pro-democracy groups, has now shed a new light upon the underlying policymaking. This is devastating proof that the Burma army has taken a lead in the run-up to the November historical elections in which the National League for Democracy National League (NLD) Opposition National League won its formidable win in the attack on sovereign states.
As part of a campaigne named "#Op Fucking Media", a militia column named "Union of Hacktivists" has declared itself responsible for these atrocities. "There has been no targeting of governments or militarily networked medias. Scientists in Sweden have also joined the Blink Hacker Group with the public policy institution. The Unleleashed Research Labs story describes how its investigators tied these assaults to a secret Myanmar army intelligence organization and returned them to a computer maintained by the Defense Services Academy, a schooling center for defense factions.
Assaults had been started during regular working time, indicating a co-ordinated army-led campaign to slander discriminatory mass communication. Others who were part of the same group were two military-run advocacy agencies and the Ministry of Defence. In the same article, scientists also allege to have found several single hijackers connected to the Armed Forces and the Union Solidarity and Development Party.
Many are vociferous proponents of the former military-backed regime and ultra-nationalist groups campaigning for hatred of the Islamic majority in Burma. The Blink Hacker Group acknowledged in an on-line declaration that some of its followers were "nationalists" and "government lobbyists" while it accused "Jihadi Muslims" of conspiracy against them. Islamicophobia is widespread throughout Burma's population, so this is not compelling evidence.
However, the country's burgeoning hacktivistic move is strikingly focused on achieving strategic missions. Ultimately, this means that the army has invaded the hackers in order to push its policy agendas. Declarations by the Union of Hacktivists based on the speech and sound of the Myanmar army undoubtedly give faith to this theories.
This group has blamed the mass media for" breaking up the[Buddhist] faith and nation" and "staying in contact with pre-emptive people. She has also cautioned that the country's emerging democracies could become a "dictatorship" of their own, meaning that the Burma militaries would be better placed to govern Burma. It is not the first year that the Burma government, which destroyed all disagreements over half a hundred years of dominance, has been charged with starting computer assaults on the press.
Exiled assaults on exiled members of the press were the order of the day during the 2007 Saffron Revolution, when the armed forces opened fire on Protestant friars calling for an end to reigning warlords. Usually they culminated in important policy incidents, such as the 1988 pro-democracy insurgency jubilee or outbreaks of dissent. Google in 2013 recounted "government-backed" efforts to hijack the e-mail account of Myanmar journalist.
By repealing most of the restrictive measures against the former regime, the Armed Forces may already have acquired this technique from other West hands. She has also warned of taking litigation against groups of journalists who dare to say otherwise. It is a fitting mirror image of freedom of expression in Burma.
In spite of the NLD's sweeping win in the historical elections in November, it is clear that the NLD and its coalition partners will stay outside the judicial system. Gamers can comfortably know that Burma's latest cyber crime act, the Electronic Transactions Act, was developed with the only intent of silencing policy-makers.
In the meantime, the risks associated with the use of digital content are increasing. While Burma is opening up and Internet connectivity is skyrocketing, the number of complaints targeting individuals is increasing simply because they express themselves on the Internet. The two guys who slightly ridiculed the army on Facebook last year were promptly arrested for slander, a crime under domestic laws.
Last fortnight again, the armed forces were threatening to take Facebook user to court for suggesting that a man who had been caught up in a pub fight was a national. This risk is perceived as acute by reporters who are frequently endangered, molested and detained, resulting in restraint in public confrontation with the armed forces. While once exiled mass media organisations are abandoning the security of Thailand and India and returning to Burma, they are becoming more and more susceptible to police intervention and self-censorship.
Myanmar is currently preparing a new bill on cyber crime, a role for the new administration headed by Suu Kyi's NLD. We must ensure that this piece of regulation does not become another policy instrument for the state. It must, as such, close crucial loopholes in Burma's judicial structure by laying down clear rules on monitoring, lawfully intercepting and chopping crime while safeguarding citizens' freedoms.
Otherwise, Burma's technological revolutionary could suffocate freedom of expression instead of fostering it. The picture shows a Buddhist friar taking a picture as he and other Burmese and Thai friars are given charity during a church worship on September 20, 2015 in Mandalay.