Norway’s Telenor chief denounces cyber security bill in Myanmar

Rights groups said draft cyber security legislation would hand the junta ‘almost unlimited power to access user data’ © via Reuters

According to the Financial Times, Norway’s Telenor has publicly denounced a cyber security bill that the country’s junta is attempting to introduce after seizing power in a coup.

Sigve Brekke, Telenor’s chief executive said to the Financial Times that the bill, which would grant authorities in Myanmar sweeping powers over digital content, was too broad, failed to consider human rights, and should not be implemented as written.

Norway’s Telenor is one of the biggest foreign investors in Myanmar and the company’s response to the cyber security bill was according to Sigve Brekke extremely direct. “We are very, very clear in our response. How that’s going to be received, I don’t know. … It is a very uncertain and irregular situation,” Sigve Brekke added.

Campaigners in Myanmar have condemned the cyber security bill and Human Rights Watch said it would give the junta “almost unlimited power to access user data, putting anyone who speaks out at risk”. Sigve Brekke did not give any insight into how Telenor would respond to further restrictions. “I cannot speculate about the future. We just have to see what happens,” he said.

Sigve Brekke expressed his concern that the situation in Myanmar is not coming to a peaceful resolution and said that when it comes to Telenor’s operation he just needs to do what he can do now. He said that it was very sad to see the country take a step back but added that Telenor had helped people communicate and gain internet access after 50 years of the country being “locked down”.

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