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22 Feb 2022

Myanmar: Civil society calls for tech companies to resist military pressure to activate surveillance and abuse social media platforms; includes company responses

Civil society groups released a statement (linked below) "urging  telecommunications and technology companies to uphold their commitments to responsible business practices". The call follows the allegation that the junta has "engaged in an endless onslaught of targeted attacks on digital space" by pressuring telecommunication companies to activate surveillance technologies and by using social media platforms to propagate fear and insecurity. 

Specifically, the statement alleges that “[s]hould the sale [of Telenor Myanmar to M1 Group and military-linked Shwe Byain Phyu Group] go ahead…all operators in Myanmar — including…Ooredoo — will activate surveillance technology within their networks…”, which pose a threat to privacy and security rights. [In a separate story, the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre invited M1 Group Shwe Byain Phyu Group to respond to an allegation that the sale will lead to risks exposure of personal data.]

The Resource Centre invited Ooredoo to respond to the allegation. The company did not respond.

Further, the statement alleges that "[a]fter being blocked from Facebook, increasing numbers of military and military-linked actors are now abusing less responsive services and platforms to amplify a regime of fear and abuse online, including through death threats on TikTok, and doxxing on Telegram." [Facebook, for itself, pledged to remove pages of military companies.]

The Resource Centre invited YouTube, TikTok, and Telegram to respond to the allegations. YouTube and TikTok responded (linked below). Telegram did not.

Company Responses

YouTube (part of Alphabet) View Response
TikTok (part of ByteDance) View Response

No Response


No Response