Study finds Burma uses western tools to censor web

A new report from human rights tech project OpenNet Initiative provides new insight into how internet filtering technologies developed in the West are used by oppressive governments. Snip from New York Times story:

Myanmar "employs one of the most restrictive regimes of Internet filtering worldwide that we have studied," said Ronald J. Deibert, a principal investigator for the OpenNet Initiative and the director of the Citizen Lab at the Munk Center for International Studies at the University of Toronto.

Myanmar now joins several nations, including China, Iran and Singapore, in relying on Western software and hardware to accomplish their goals, Mr. Deibert said.

Microsoft, Cisco and Yahoo, for example, have all come under fire recently for providing technology or otherwise cooperating with the Chinese government to enable it to monitor and censor Internet use.

In the case of Myanmar, the regulations and customs are quite clear. The Digital Freedom Network, a human rights group based in New Jersey, notes that among things forbidden by Myanmar's Web regulations, introduced in January 2000, are the posting of "any writings directly or indirectly detrimental to the current policies" of the government. The rules also forbid "any writings detrimental to the interests of the Union of Myanmar."


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