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Myanmar Internet a virtual battlefield: report

Myanmar’s military rulers are seeking to limit access to the Internet to an internal network of only “whitelisted” sites to quash opposition to their seizure of power, according to a report by the International Crisis Group.

It likened the Internet to a “virtual battlefield” where the military is struggling to gain an edge because it lacks technological capacity, while social media companies such as Facebook have banned military officials and many government agencies.

The report released on Tuesday noted a narrowing of the leeway for online dissent and abuses of social media to spread hatred toward minority Muslim people in western Myanmar’s Rakhine under Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government, which was ousted in a February 1 coup. Since then, authorities have imposed nightly Internet outages and sought to limit access to social media platforms.

International telecoms companies such as Norway’s Telenor and other businesses have protested the moves, which they say are crippling business activity.

Many tech-savvy young people are involved in the civil disobedience movement against the coup and the military lacks the sort of capabilities that China has developed over the past several decades, enabling it to police the Internet and ban access to certain sites, the International Crisis Group report said. So instead the military, also known as the Tatmadaw, is developing an “intranet” for inside the country that allows mobile access only to approved, or “whitelisted" applications.


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Printable version | Jun 18, 2021 2:31:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/myanmar-internet-a-virtual-battlefield-report/article34590077.ece

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