On Thursday, July 6, 2023, Wai Phyo Myint, Asia Pacific Policy Analyst at Access Now, addressed the United Nations Human Rights Council at its 53rd session regarding the intensified abuse of surveillance and digital tools by the Myanmar military, ahead of the elections.
In the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Wai Phyo Myint highlighted how the military is steadily fortifying surveillance infrastructure across the country — including through installing CCTVs with facial recognition powers and activating intercept technologies across military-controlled telecommunications networks.
Wai Phyo Myint also raised the alarm on the military’s abuse of digital tools — allowing it to collect massive amounts of personal data from people’s SIM and IMEI registrations, and from their National Registration Cards. Combined, these information can be used to track people’s communications, location and networks via their mobile devices, and target those who resist the military.
Access Now calls for a comprehensive arms embargo — including a ban on the sale or transfer of surveillance technologies, equipment, intelligence or related assistance to the military, particularly “dual-use” and biometric technologies enabling mass and discriminatory targeted surveillance.