Yangon – A group of international chambers of commerce based in Myanmar has issued a joint statement over Myanmar military junta’s proposed cybersecurity law, announced on 13 January 2022.
The proposed cybersecurity law contains provisions concerning Virtual Private Networks (VPN), non-social media digital platform services, and business use of social media.
The associations involved in the joint statement are The American Chamber of Commerce Myanmar, Australian Chamber of Commerce in Myanmar, British Chamber of Commerce, EuroCham Myanmar, French Myanmar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, German Myanmar Business Chamber, Greece – Myanmar Chamber of Commerce, Ital Myanmar Business Association and the US ICT for Myanmar and the Asia Internet Coalition.
The ten groups have raised concern over the potential disruption of the free flow of information and directly impacts businesses’ abilities to operate legally and effectively in Myanmar.
Not only the ten groups, various organizations ranging from Telecommunications companies, Financial Services Institutions to Technology based companies have also raised their concern over the move to outlaw contents and prosecute the author.
On the grounds, there have been several reports from the Burma mainland – Yangon and Mandalay to ethnic region – particularly, Shan state that the junta security forces have checked people’s mobile phones whether the civilians use VPN to access social media such as Facebook or Twitter.
In Yangon, the junta security force has demanded money from drivers to let them pass when checking their mobile phones in relation to the use of VPN.
If approved, the cybersecurity law would enable Myanmar military junta sweeping powers to access user data and undermine the country’s location as an offshore hub for data services.
To the opposition parties – National Unity Government and Generation Z, the move is viewed as politically motivated to double crackdown on the grassroots rebellion forces across the country and limit the information flow.
Of all, information flow has been a target of the move as the human violations and inhumane acts of murdering innocent civilians are always revealed at a record speed. This is seen as quickly tarnishing the image of the Tatmadaw (military) institution in the eyes of the military top brass, although the Tatmadaw institution has been collapsed for the citizens.