Myanmar: Population surveillance using China cameras

For Safe City projects in Myanmar, according to insiders, current tenders for the procurement and installation of surveillance cameras

Surveillance cameras and facial recognition technology are planned by the military government in Myanmar ” to maintain security and to maintain internal peace”. To do this, they launched tenders to procure and install cameras to implement their plans for Safe City projects. This is what people involved in the measures told Reuters on Monday.

Local procurement companies were awarded the contract. According to Reuters, citing three inside sources, they would include Fisca Security & Communication and Naung Yoe Technologies Co. These companies would acquire the cameras and related technologies from Chinese companies Zhejiang Dahua Technology (002236.SZ) (Dahua), Huawei Technologies Co Ltd (HWT.UL) and Hikvision (002236 .SZ). The facial recognition software used here, on the other hand, is to be commissioned from regional companies. Chinese software licenses would be too expensive.

Five cities already monitored since the beginning 2021 …

Since the military coup in February 2021, the local authorities in Myanmar in Five cities started surveillance projects using cameras. For example in Mawlamyine, the fourth largest city in the country. There are already over 200 Dahua cameras there. According to plan, however, they now want to install more in the city.

… additional projects are now to follow nationwide in Myanmar

Additional projects are currently to be implemented in five other cities Chinese-made camera installations with face recognition functions will follow. According to one source, the junta is planning “camera surveillance systems for cities in each of the seven states and seven regions of Myanmar”. The measures are touted here as “crime prevention”.

Insiders familiar with the project fear the new surveillance plans will be used to do so “tackling activists and resistance groups, both of whom were labeled terrorists by the junta after their coup”.

Phil Robertson, Deputy Asia director of human rights organization Human Rights Watch, told Reuters:

“Surveillance cameras pose a serious risk to democracy activists in Myanmar because the military and police can use them to track their movements. They could do this by figuring out links between activists, identifying safe houses and other meeting places, and detecting and intercepting cars and motorcycles used by activists.”

Already at the beginning of the year, the military junta of Myanmar aimed for a ban on VPN services and cryptocurrencies to control the internet more effectively. After the new draft law is passed, VPN users face one to three years in prison. In addition, fines of the equivalent of 2. 800 US dollars are due for violations.

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