There are four telcos in Myanmar, state-owned MPT (20 million), Norway-based Telenor (17 million), Qatar-based Ooredoo (8 million), and Myanmar military and partners owned My Tel to start their operation in 2017. By March 2015, just over a year after liberalising the ICT sector, 40% of Myanmar’s population between the ages of 15-65 owned a mobile phone and 29% are women.
By now, there’s already more than 51m active SIMs in Myanmar, 70% of phones are smartphones and data usage is sky high.
Myanmar had only used the SEA-ME-WE 3 fibre optic cable previously, but people in the country will be able to enjoy the benefits of the SEA-ME-WE 5 and AAE1 cables soon. International bandwidth has reached to over 200 Gbps in 2016, which is nearly seven times the country’s capacity in 2013. Although the number of telecommunication towers in Myanmar was under 3,000 before the foreign were introduced, the number of telecommunication towers in Myanmar reached over 11,700 in 2016.
Myanmar currently faces an array of cyber and digital security challenges. These include compromised cyberinfrastructure, increasing surveillance of online and offline networks, not only for political interest but also for financial information. Using existing laws and regulations to restrict and sue the internet users those who freely shared their points of view or express their feeling online/offline about the government and military personnel in Myanmar. Most of the population is at low levels of digital literacy and digital security knowledge, the laws and regulations are weak. Lack of skilled technicians and services. Training and supporting mechanism are limited for everyone, everywhere. There is only a small space who respect human rights and others individual rights.
While digital security is universally touted as a priority for these groups and their communities, human rights defenders continue to be, harassed, imprisoned or killed due in part due to their poor digital security practices. Many organisations do not have the internal capacity, expertise, or the funds available that are required to address these challenges. Worse, they might not even know the risks they pose on human rights defenders and the need for organisational change around digital strategies to see these challenges.
As Myanmar digital leapfrog is rapid, the citizens jump into the digital realm, even without knowing what is the internet, how the internet works. They even don’t know computer and start use high-speed internet from their cheap smartphone. They need digital literacy alternatively. Now banking system and trading demand are marching for online services and payment. There will be a lot more problematic while the existing laws and regulations are weak, skilful resources person are lack. Especially the activists and human rights defenders will be the main target to leak out confidential data and information.
That is why we are trying to do digital and cybersecurity auditing for the existing 20 main organisations and develop the solution for each organisation. Develop skilful security technicians and to start incident and emergency support mechanism to minimise cost and maximise the impacts to face the upcoming challenges in Myanmar.