The World Bank may be dangling the prospect of affordable cell phones in Burma at the expense of freedom of expression and privacy rights. Foreign investment in Burma’s underdeveloped telecommunications sector is about to boom – as of this week, Qatar’s Ooredoo and Norway’s Telenor have received licenses to develop Burma’s networks.
To support growing investment, the World Bank – which pledged $2 billion in development aid to Burma on 26 January – will approve a Telecom Sector Reform project on 6 February. But the World Bank, perhaps eager to rapidly develop Burma’s telecom sector without vexing the Burmese government, is failing to support crucial privacy and data protection reforms.
Read more: DVB