Breaking News
Get Actionable Insights with InvestingPro+: Start 7 Day FREE Trial Register here
Investing Pro 0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your Investing.com experience. Save up to 40% More details

Exclusive: After pressuring telecom firms, Myanmar's junta bans executives from leaving

Stock Markets Jul 05, 2021 05:31AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Soldiers stand next to military vehicles as people gather to protest against the military coup, in Yangon, Myanmar, February 15, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo 2/2

By Fanny Potkin

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Senior foreign executives of major telecommunications firms in Myanmar have been told by the junta that they must not leave the country without permission, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said.

A confidential order from Myanmar’s Posts and Telecommunications Department (PTD) in mid-June said senior executives, both foreigners and Myanmar nationals, must seek special authorisation to leave the country, the person said.

A week later, telecom companies were sent a second letter telling them they had until Monday July 5 to fully implement intercept technology they had previously been asked to install to let authorities spy on calls, messages and web traffic and to track users by themselves, the source said. Reuters has not seen the orders.

The directives follow pressure on the companies from the junta, which is facing daily protests from its opponents and a growing number of insurgencies to activate the spyware technology.

A spokesman for the military did not answer multiple requests for comment. The junta has never commented on the electronic surveillance effort, but announced soon after seizing power its aim to pass a cybersecurity bill that would require telecoms providers to provide data when requested and remove or block any content deemed to be disrupting "unity, stabilisation, and peace". It also amended privacy laws to free security forces to intercept communications.

The travel ban comes after intensified pressure from military officials to finish the implementation of the surveillance equipment. The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, said the ban was meant to pressure telecoms firms to finish activating the spyware technology, although the order itself does not specify a reason.

Three other telecoms sources, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said the authorities had stepped up pressure on the companies to implement the intercept, but declined to elaborate further. Two sources said companies had been warned repeatedly by junta officials not to speak publicly or to the media on the intercept.

Telenor declined to comment. There was no immediate response to requests for comment from Ooredoo, state-owned MPT and Mytel, a joint venture between Vietnam's Viettel and a Myanmar military-owned conglomerate.

Months before the Feb. 1 coup, telecom and internet service providers were ordered to install intercept spyware to allow the army to eavesdrop on the communications of citizens, Reuters reported in May.

Reuters was not able to establish how broadly the surveillance technology has been installed and deployed, but four sources said Norway's Telenor ASA (OTC:TELNY) and Qatar's Ooredoo QPSC had yet to comply in full.

Among the military's first actions on Feb. 1 was to cut internet access and it has still not been fully re-established, with telecoms given regular lists of websites and activist phone numbers to block.

The moves have left the future unclear for Myanmar's telecom sector, which had been one of the fastest-growing globally. Telenor said on Friday it is evaluating the future of its operations in the country, with a source telling Reuters it is eying a sale of its Myanmar unit.

Exclusive: After pressuring telecom firms, Myanmar's junta bans executives from leaving
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Comments (1)
Klaus Weyers
Klaus Weyers Jul 04, 2021 11:02PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
stop all aid and biz dealings with the junta.. a modern day big brother is watching you
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email