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Myanmar: Italian spyware company The Hacking Team in talks with govt. since 2012 to establish domestic surveillance -emails leak reveal

"Revealed: Domestic Surveillance Company in talks with Burma Govt", 24 July 2015

An Italian spyware company at the centre of a global hacking scandal has been in discussions with the Burmese government about helping them establish domestic surveillance mechanisms since 2012, a trove of emails released by WikiLeaks has shown. Communications...show that The Hacking Team offered “lawful interception” and “active IT intrusion” services to Burma’s military intelligence agency as recently as the end of last year....Although the bid appears to have been unsuccessful, it raises questions about the role of international firms in facilitating human rights violations in Burma, a former military dictatorship known for monitoring journalists and activists...“There has been reporting for many years that Singapore-based companies were assisting the Burmese security forces on surveillance,” said David Mathieson, Senior Burma Researcher at Human Rights Watch. “And in light of the massive surge in mobile services in Burma and internet use in just the past couple of years, the Office of Military Affairs Security must be trying to keep pace with these technologies and monitor the opposition.” The earliest email communications date back to November 2012—mere months after European Union sanctions were suspended—when the Hacking Team spoke of “potential deals with customers from Qatar, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Brunei and many other countries.” According to its website, The Hacking Team only works with governments and government agencies but will not strike deals if there are “credible concerns” that its technology could be used to abuse human rights...


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