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Article

19 Jun 2024

Author:
Justice For Myanmar

Myanmar: Justice for Myanmar report finds Chinese tech firms allegedly aid junta's digital surveillance and censorship

"The Myanmar Junta’s Partners in Digital Surveillance and Censorship" 19 June 2024

The Myanmar military junta has accessed Chinese equipment, technology and support in its efforts to ramp up internet censorship and surveillance, putting lives at risk and further impeding the Myanmar people’s access to information and free expression...

At the end of May 2024, the junta began using a new web surveillance and censorship system to increase its control of the internet...Planning documents indicate that the system uses network hardware (a secure web gateway) with deep packet inspection for internet surveillance and censorship at internet service providers (including mobile network operators) and internet gateways...

According to the planning documents, the new system uses Tiangou Secure Gateway (TSG) and Cyber Narrator from Jizhi (Hainan) Information Technology Company Limited, also known as Geedge Networks, a Chinese private network security and intelligence equipment and solutions company...

The internet surveillance and censorship system is being implemented for the junta controlled Information Technology and Cyber Security Department (ITCSD) of the Ministry of Transport and Communications by a team of technicians from China, according to reporting by Khit Thit Media, through the private Myanmar military broker Mascots Group...Geedge Networks did not respond to an email from Justice For Myanmar.

Mascots Group is also involved in a location tracking system for the junta controlled ITCSD...The proposed location tracking system is from another Chinese company, China National Electronics Import and Export Corporation (CEIEC)...CEIEC is also a key supplier of air defence radar systems to the Myanmar military...

In November 2020, the USA sanctioned CEIEC for providing the Venezuelan government with a commercialised version of China’s “Great Firewall”. CEIEC did not respond to an email from Justice For Myanmar.

Mascots Group is a network of five companies led by Win Kyaw...While aiding the junta’s efforts to ban social media such as Facebook, Mascots Group is also trying to profit through the launch of a whitelisted social media network, MySpace Myanmar, that is fully under junta regulation..

Despite the complicity of Win Kyaw, his companies and associates in the Myanmar military’s atrocities, no sanctions have yet been imposed on them, with the exception of the associated company King Royal Technologies, which was added to the US Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Science Entity List in 2021...