How will VPN shutdowns affect people? How will VPN shutdowns affect people?

How will VPN shutdowns affect people?

How will VPN shutdowns affect people?
Since the end of May in Myanmar, VPN (Virtual Private Network) software, which is widely used by the people, has been closed by the military council, so it is difficult to use the social network Facebook, which is a major news flow.

After the military coup, Facebook was closed so that it could no longer be used from Myanmar, so they downloaded a VPN software application and used a foreign name to access Facebook again.

A 60-year-old woman, who did not want to be named for security reasons, told RFA that the news was delayed on days without a VPN connection.

"Don't get VPNs, It's been five days. In the past, we knew what the news was immediately. I didn't even know that U Tin Oo had passed away. Now I know At home, there are only adults. The young people also went on trips, so I only found out when they came back the other day that I asked them to do that."

After the coup d'état, people have been getting to know the daily news through the social network Facebook. There are more than 20 million Facebook users in Myanmar.

A Yangon resident who is getting information from Facebook said that he found it difficult to turn off the VPN.

“Social media is a must-use; there is news And if you are a mother of children like my sister, the things that are necessary for the child, Now that the child is about to start school, which school is convenient? It is not easy to go outside and investigate in person. I see online reviews, Yesterday, all day, VPNs couldn't connect at all. The phone does not receive data. No WiFi, It's all chaos."

Ma Wei Phyo Myint of the Access Now group, a digital rights movement, said that social media were forced to be shut down during the coup, but the current ban is worse.

"In the past, they compiled a list and then Telecom Company, They gave the list to Internet Service Providers and asked them to shut it down. I've done this before, of course. For those that were closed on May 30th, we controlled from this Naypyitaw. We learned again that it was closed from Nay Pyi Taw. Currently, the situation of closing this time is getting worse.

On the side of the military council, in these three years, Facebook, They have repeatedly tried to replace social networking platforms such as YouTube with applications under their control.

Now, the military council has revealed Myspace application to replace Facebook. At the same time, anti-military groups campaigned to remove the military council's Myspace from the Play Store and App Store.

An IT expert, who did not want to be named for security reasons, said that the military council wanted to use Myspace to collect people's information.

"He gave his information, Given Facebook, Now, even though I'm sitting in Myanmar and using it, he knows my phone number. know me By looking at the internet I'm using, he knows where I am closest to. I want to collect such data information on my own server so that I can use it on Myspace software and social media. And we will be able to control the flow of information."

Shutting down the VPN is both public and public. NUG Communications said that the damage to the revolutionary forces is great. Minister of Information and Technology U Hin Lin Aung told RFA.

"Where is it being used?" We can see that they are able to know which service provider and which IP address they are using. Therefore, using any service provider that cooperates with the start-up is a dangerous situation.

Minister U Tin Lin Aung said that he had prepared in advance because he expected such things.

"Our VPN was presented to the Cabinet and approved to be launched on the third anniversary of our department," he said. A messaging application has also been developed and tested. This is the main thing for the revolutionary forces. Because in order to support all the people, the budget will need a lot, so at the moment, we are starting to use the applications that were made only for the revolutionary forces.

Captain Lin Chet Aung, a member of the CDM military, considered that the military council had imprisoned the people's knowledge.

"They know that the social platforms that people mainly use, they can't grow, That's why, after closing these, the North Koreans, After imitating countries like China, we can only say that the concepts that they want to reach the people's ears through their propaganda are the main topics. I think it's basically a form of putting people into a box and summarizing all the knowledge and stuff."

According to a local news outlet, the military council is working with a Burmese company and a group of Chinese technicians to shut down VPNs.

That company is Mascots Technologies & Telecommunication, and the Ministry of Transport and Communications issued an operating license on May 8, 2018. The license is valid until May 7, 2033. RFA contacted the company but did not answer the phone. I sent an e-mail and asked, but there was no reply.

Regarding these matters, RFA contacted General Zaw Min Tun, the spokesman of the Military Council, by phone, but he could not be contacted.

According to the report of Freedom on the Net released in October 2023 by the US-based Freedom House, Myanmar is the second worst country in the world where Internet freedom is oppressed and violated.

After the coup, the military council monitored Facebook users and arrested and imprisoned those who posted on social media, including Facebook.

Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) states that everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression. On the other hand, the military council does not respect international regulations, and on the other hand, it has limited websites, VPN (Virtual Private Network) technology, which allows you to bypass applications, has also been banned.


  1. This highlights the oppressive control of the military regime on internet freedom and communication.

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