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Article

27 Jan 2022

Author:
Dhevy Sivaprakasam, Golda Benjamin, & Raman Jit Singh Chima, Access Now

Analysis: the Myanmar junta’s Cybersecurity Law would be a disaster for human rights

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27 January 2022

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[...] The recently revived draft Cybersecurity Law will effectively extinguish any remaining avenues for dissent and expression against an increasingly violent regime, and must be immediately withdrawn.

On January 13, leaked documents revealed the military’s attempts to reintroduce a notorious and oppressive law, previously shut down by Access Now and other civil society and industry stakeholders. The latest draft — an unofficial English version of which was shared with Access Now through partners — appears to resurrect all the major fears around suppression of freedoms that were enshrined in the original iteration. It is expected to pass as early as next week after a two-week token consultation.

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Major warning signs 

Sweeping definitions allow paralysing censorship in violation of the rights to free expression and information. [...]

Controls on VPN usage will undermine individuals’ rights to information, privacy, and security. [...]

Data protection measures are non-existent, allowing for privacy violations. [...] 

Excessive intermediary regulations throttles the independence of online platforms and services. [...]

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The proposed Cybersecurity Law was shelved last year due to massive national and international opposition. This current draft is no better, and needs global pushback. 

Attempts to resurrect this draconian law must be immediately met with civil society, industry, and diplomatic pressure. These calculated encroachments on civic space impact not only on the freedoms of individuals, communities, and businesses within Myanmar, but — if left unopposed or unchecked — send an alarming signal that it is okay for an illegitimate regime to solidify control of its population through surveillance and suppression online and offline. The military must be taken to task

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