Myanmar’s Cyber Security Bill

Myanmar’s military junta has drafted a draconian cyber security bill that has caused alarm among human rights campaigners and business groups for granting authorities sweeping powers over the Internet. The 36 pages outlining the proposed laws were given to mobile operators and telecoms license holders for comment just over a week after the army overthrew the elected government of Aun San Suu Kyi.  

Protests against the coup were held in Myanmar with tens of thousands marching in the the country’s largest city, YangonProtesters have accused the junta of drafting the Bill to restrict the mobilisation of its opponents. 

Protests against the coup in Myanmar are continuing, with thousands of people demonstrating outside China’s embassy in Yangon over allegations Beijing is supporting the junta and rumours that Chinese internet specialists had been flown in to help implement a controversial new cyber security law. 

President Biden has announced that the US is cutting off the generals’ access to $1bn (£720m) in funds in the US and the EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, has also warned the bloc could impose fresh sanctions on Myanmar’s military.

Opponents of the coup have called on state civil servants and workers in  other industries to boycott work and put pressure on the junta in a statement claiming that the bill “violates human rights including the rights to freedom of expression, data protection and privacy, and other democratic principles and human rights in the online space”. The bill was an attempt “by the current military regime to oppress those who are against its rule, and to restrict the mobilisation and momentum of online resistance, we strongly condemn this action by the current military regime in accordance with our democratic principles”.

Law students have gone into the streets in university cities like Mandalay, joining young lawyers in shows of strength that echo the crowds of young people from the 1988 Revolution.

Using communications tools that were not then invented, protesters have appealed to international public  opinion public on social media, deploying video and graphics and using Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, Signal and a range of other apps on their mobile phones to make statements over the Internet criticising the new military government.  

Channel News Asia:      Jurist:        Telegraph:       Guardian:         Financial Times

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