Surveillance is a matter of life & death in Myanmar. What role did European companies & EU funds play in providing the military junta with the spy tech it used to counter mass protest against the coup it staged

@LHreports investigates>> Image
About the consequences of being tracked in #Myanmar, one former detainee told us: ‘There were detainees from the student unions, they were taken away with black hoods over their heads and they didn’t come back’
The #Myanmar military capacity to track its compatriots has been enhanced by EU companies & EU subsidies. Firms like swedish #MSAB and Italian SecurCube appear in leaked Myanmar ministerial budget documents we obtained
@LHreports spoke to detainees in country, helped them scan their phones for spyware, scrutinised paper trails of export deals & mapped out laws/liabilities in collaboration w/ @AJ101East @AJEnglish @irpinvestigates @OCCRP @theintercept
The deals took place prior to the coup but at a time when #Myanmar was still largely controlled by a military, widely condemned for an ongoing genocide on the #Rohingya & known for its suppression of activists and journalists
So when the generals staged their coup on Feb 1, and mass protests spread throughout Myanmar, 100,000s demonstrators feared they were facing a military with highly enhanced tech capabilities
A violent crackdown followed, with 800+ protesters killed, 1000s injured & political prisoners brutally tortured. Internet was restricted, Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter & Instagram blocked & smartphone data used as evidence in arrests
In @LHreports #SurveillanceNewsroom we unpack a horrifying example of how weak EU regulation & oversight enabled vendors of forensic and surveillance equipment to do business with a pariah regime
With @theintercept we uncover the EU funding involved. MSAB & others received millions from the EU’s flagship tech research program #HorizonEurope, previously known as Horizon2020 for their project: FORMOBILE
MSABs products were confirmed to be sold to Myanmar's police -- effectively part of the Tatmadaw (military) & can quickly scan & analyze all of the data on a smartphone
Forensic researcher & coordinator of the FORMOBILE project Christian Hummert told @CaitLChandler and @notzachcampbell that the majority of deliverables from that project would feed directly into MSAB’s products
With @irpinvestigates and the Italian newspaper @DomaniGiornale we find out how it was possible that exports continued when an embargo was in place explicitly targeting military end-use & risks of internal repression?…
The piece demonstrates how Myanmar quickly became a new market when in 2011 a democratic transition of power was agreed. But the military never really ceded power & companies turned a blind eye to the military connections of their business partners.
‘We know from previous cases that when authoritarian regimes get their hands on these technologies they use them to enable further human rights abuses,' Scott-Railton of @citizenlabco told Domani’s @ORARiccardo…
The @globeandmail with @nvanderklippe zooms in on Canadian firms Magnet Forensics and OpenText Corporation both based in Canada’s tech hub of Kitchener-Waterloo…
@thinink @David_H_Boyle @ali_fowle @LudoHekman @leone_hadavi @CaitLChandler @notzachcampbell @EvaConstantaras @fredriklaurin @jaredferrie @Ola_Westerberg @ORARiccardo 5000 people have been arrested, charged, or sentenced as part of the crackdown on nationwide protests. Some of them may have had information extracted from their phones by sec officers using digital forensic tech bought from Western companies @OCCRP…
@thinink @David_H_Boyle @ali_fowle @LudoHekman @leone_hadavi @CaitLChandler @notzachcampbell @EvaConstantaras @fredriklaurin @jaredferrie @Ola_Westerberg @ORARiccardo @OCCRP Italian MP Filippo Sensi wants answers from government after @LHreports publications with @irpinvestigates and @DomaniGiornale. Sensi: “I can only ask myself, (...) how it was possible and what the government intends to do about it.” #Myanmar…

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