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Myanmar junta demanded telcos activate phone interception tools – and we refused, says Telenor
Thursday, 16 September 2021 17:57

HTTP/2 200 date: Fri, 17 Sep 2021 14:00:27 GMT content-type: text/html; charset=UTF-8 link: ; rel=preload; as=script;,/a7a26af3f5292bd244f1b5a0a2bd2c2009b2a472/javascript/_.js>; rel=preload; as=script;,/default/ba4a58189918078cc9718a957c2d2e04c16ceeb1/scaffolding.css>; rel=preload; as=style;,/default/ba4a58189918078cc9718a957c2d2e04c16ceeb1/design.css>; rel=preload; as=style;,/5e49edbd1875f214e0decae1e24b200066780fa8/style/fonts/arimo/arimo-700.latin.woff2>; rel=preload; as=font; crossorigin;,/5e49edbd1875f214e0decae1e24b200066780fa8/style/fonts/arimo/arimo-400.latin.woff2>; rel=preload; as=font; crossorigin; cache-control: max-age=0 expires: Fri, 17 Sep 2021 14:00:27 GMT vary: Accept-Encoding x-reg-bofh: pfy03us x-clacks-overhead: GNU Terry Pratchett, Lester Haines cf-cache-status: DYNAMIC expect-ct: max-age=604800, report-uri="https://report-uri.cloudflare.com/cdn-cgi/beacon/expect-ct" server: cloudflare cf-ray: 6902dc61efb455bd-SYD Myanmar junta demanded telcos activate phone interception tools – and we refused, says Telenor • The Register

Norwegian carrier insists it's quitting Asian nation to defend human rights – but the buyer it lined up is accused of shady dealings


Norwegian mobile carrier Telenor has revealed one reason it is quitting Myanmar is that the nation's ruling junta wanted it to intercept calls carried on its network.

Myanmar's democratically elected government was usurped by a military junta in February 2021. Internet blackouts followed as the military sought to limit opposition. Telenor, which has a history of championing human rights, voiced its opposition to those blackouts, wrote off the value of its Myanmar operations, then sold its local network to a Lebanon-based entity called M1 Group.

We'll revisit M1 Group in a few paragraphs.

First we need to explore a Wednesday announcement from Telenor that states: "Developments since the military takeover made it clear to us that our continued presence would require Telenor Myanmar to activate intercept equipment for the use of Myanmar authorities."

The post claims that the tech the junta wants "is subject to Norwegian and International sanctions". Installing or operating it is unacceptable to Telenor, on grounds that doing so violates its company values, its human rights obligations, and international law.

"Having worked actively to avoid activation of intercept equipment, Telenor Myanmar Ltd. has until now not activated this equipment and will not do so voluntarily," the statement adds.

The allegation of carriers being forced to intercept calls is significant, as is Telenor's refusal to do so.

But this story has another twist, because protestors have pointed out that M1 Group – we promised you they'd re-appear – may not be a very nice entity.

A complaint to the OECD states M1 Group has "a history of business in authoritarian countries including Syria, Sudan and Yemen".

Complicating matters further is that Najib Mikati, a founder of M1, was recently appointed Prime Minister of Lebanon. Numerous reports, such as this one from France24, say Mikati was nominated to the post by Hezbollah – an organisation named as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the US State Department and many of its mirror agencies in other nations.

Even Myanmar's junta reportedly worries about the M1 Group. Japanese outlet Nikkeireported that it may call off the deal over fears about M1 Group's activities.

Myanmar opposition groups also worry that Telenor selling to M1 may therefore run counter to the Norwegian company's professed values.

Telenor has addressed such criticism with posts like this September 1st missive in which it argues that the company can't operate in nations where it can't exercise its values.

"Remember that the human rights violations in Myanmar are due to the change of regime, not the sale of Telenor," the post states.

Wednesday's post again addresses critics of the sale, using the requirement to intercept calls as evidence that the carrier simply cannot continue to operate in Myanmar.

M1 Group, for its part, according to a [regwalled] report, observe its own ethical standards by respecting human rights in Myanmar. ®


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HTTP/2 200 date: Fri, 17 Sep 2021 14:00:27 GMT content-type: text/html; charset=UTF-8 link: ; rel=preload; as=script;,/a7a26af3f5292bd244f1b5a0a2bd2c2009b2a472/javascript/_.js>; rel=preload; as=script;,/default/ba4a58189918078cc9718a957c2d2e04c16ceeb1/scaffolding.css>; rel=preload; as=style;,/default/ba4a58189918078cc9718a957c2d2e04c16ceeb1/design.css>; rel=preload; as=style;,/5e49edbd1875f214e0decae1e24b200066780fa8/style/fonts/arimo/arimo-700.latin.woff2>; rel=preload; as=font; crossorigin;,/5e49edbd1875f214e0decae1e24b200066780fa8/style/fonts/arimo/arimo-400.latin.woff2>; rel=preload; as=font; crossorigin; cache-control: max-age=0 expires: Fri, 17 Sep 2021 14:00:27 GMT vary: Accept-Encoding x-reg-bofh: pfy03us x-clacks-overhead: GNU Terry Pratchett, Lester Haines cf-cache-status: DYNAMIC expect-ct: max-age=604800, report-uri="https://report-uri.cloudflare.com/cdn-cgi/beacon/expect-ct" server: cloudflare cf-ray: 6902dc61efb455bd-SYD Myanmar junta demanded telcos activate phone interception tools – and we refused, says Telenor • The Register

Norwegian carrier insists it's quitting Asian nation to defend human rights – but the buyer it lined up is accused of shady dealings


Norwegian mobile carrier Telenor has revealed one reason it is quitting Myanmar is that the nation's ruling junta wanted it to intercept calls carried on its network.

Myanmar's democratically elected government was usurped by a military junta in February 2021. Internet blackouts followed as the military sought to limit opposition. Telenor, which has a history of championing human rights, voiced its opposition to those blackouts, wrote off the value of its Myanmar operations, then sold its local network to a Lebanon-based entity called M1 Group.

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First we need to explore a Wednesday announcement from Telenor that states: "Developments since the military takeover made it clear to us that our continued presence would require Telenor Myanmar to activate intercept equipment for the use of Myanmar authorities."

The post claims that the tech the junta wants "is subject to Norwegian and International sanctions". Installing or operating it is unacceptable to Telenor, on grounds that doing so violates its company values, its human rights obligations, and international law.

"Having worked actively to avoid activation of intercept equipment, Telenor Myanmar Ltd. has until now not activated this equipment and will not do so voluntarily," the statement adds.

The allegation of carriers being forced to intercept calls is significant, as is Telenor's refusal to do so.

But this story has another twist, because protestors have pointed out that M1 Group – we promised you they'd re-appear – may not be a very nice entity.

A complaint to the OECD states M1 Group has "a history of business in authoritarian countries including Syria, Sudan and Yemen".

Complicating matters further is that Najib Mikati, a founder of M1, was recently appointed Prime Minister of Lebanon. Numerous reports, such as this one from France24, say Mikati was nominated to the post by Hezbollah – an organisation named as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the US State Department and many of its mirror agencies in other nations.

Even Myanmar's junta reportedly worries about the M1 Group. Japanese outlet Nikkeireported that it may call off the deal over fears about M1 Group's activities.

Myanmar opposition groups also worry that Telenor selling to M1 may therefore run counter to the Norwegian company's professed values.

Telenor has addressed such criticism with posts like this September 1st missive in which it argues that the company can't operate in nations where it can't exercise its values.

"Remember that the human rights violations in Myanmar are due to the change of regime, not the sale of Telenor," the post states.

Wednesday's post again addresses critics of the sale, using the requirement to intercept calls as evidence that the carrier simply cannot continue to operate in Myanmar.

M1 Group, for its part, according to a [regwalled] report, observe its own ethical standards by respecting human rights in Myanmar. ®


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To kick off, Marcello Ienca, a research fellow at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and Effy Vayena, deputy head of the Swiss Institute of Translational Medicine, offered the definition that "hacked" data is "data obtained in an unauthorized manner through illicit access to a computer or computer network." They claim it is increasingly being used in scientific research such as conflict modelling studies based on WikiLeaks datasets, and studies on sexual behaviour based on data leaked from Ashley Madison, a dating website whose database was pilfered by a group of attackers calling themselves The Impact Team in 2015.

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As with many of us, Dymond started out with a ZX81 and was soon churning out software for the plastic slab, even as he waited for his shiny new ZX Spectrum to arrive. Compared to the '81, the Spectrum was a revelation. Dymond was quick to put the capabilities of the machine to work with his 1982 game, Roulette.

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Col, however, was a professional and well versed in the ins and outs of such systems. Work was brisk and so, he told us, "I took on a university grad with all the spunk and vigour that comes with it. He knew the electron-to-joule conversion formulae et al."

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Source: https://bit.ly/2XxXAAx