Since coming to power In a coup two years ago, Myanmar’s military junta suppressed people’s rights. cracked down on the oppositionand used lethal violence against civilians. To make this possible, the authorities have restricted people’s communication and introduced extensive digital surveillance systems. Now new findings show how people are being tracked online and offline at the same time.
In April this year, the military junta launched one of its deadliest airstrikes:more than 160 people killed in the Kanbalu region in a single day. After the strike, pro-junta Telegram channels on social media systematically pressured people who had shown support for the victims, new research shared with WIRED shows. Their names, photos and other personal information were all shared. Days after the doxxing, which also exposed some people’s real movements, people were arrested and jailed.
The Revelations from Myanmar Witness, a project by the digital investigative group Center for Information Resilience, shows how oppressive forces can use people’s social media posts against themselves. It also shows the intensive surveillance People living under Myanmar’s military junta face a range of problems, including recurring internet shutdowns and increasing surveillance cameras.
“The military regime and its supporters in Myanmar have weaponized the internet, and doxing has become the tip of the spear – the most aggressive way to silence people online and offline,” said Lu Aye, senior investigator at Myanmar Witness. The group investigated the incident using open source intelligence techniques, comparing on-site reports with digital evidence.
The airstrike hit the village of Pa Zi Gyi in central Myanmar on the morning of April 11 as hundreds of people celebrated the opening of a new village building backed by Myanmar’s pro-democracy Government of National Accord. More than 160 people, including women and children, reportedly died in the airstrike CNN and that Guardian Description of bodies burning on the ground and medical personnel unable to immediately reach the scene due to aircraft flying over. (A military spokesman told the local press that they were “terrorists.”)
In the days following the incident, locals changed their Facebook profile pictures to black images and shared messages of support for the victims. According to reports from the state-run newspaper Myanmar Alin, which were analyzed by Myanmar Witness, 68 people were arrested. (Another arrest was made reported by the BBC.) According to the analysis, people were arrested for spreading propaganda, collaborating with the pro-democracy government and public unrest. In all arrests, the people’s social media profiles are mentioned.