Intellectual Property Law

Parliament OKs Revisions to IT Monitoring Proposal

Date: 13 November 2017; Type: Legal News; Source: Myanmar Times

A motion urging the government to monitor information technology (IT) has been approved in Hluttaw.

The amended version mentions monitoring “IT abuses” rather than “IT use” after negotiations among five MPs, and explanation by the Minister on November 8.

The original proposal sought to monitor uses of information technologies focusing on their adverse effects on the morals of youth as well as  on peace. The reviewed version aims at only “monitoring abuses of information technologies.”

“We should consider whether it is suitable and possible or not to monitor the very wide territory of information technologies. It should not contradict existing laws as some matters can be handled by the Telecommunication Law,” said U Win Win, Minbu constituency MP.

“It is necessary to make a decision only after thorough examination as there are difficulties like technology barriers and costly equipment,” Tatmadaw MP Major Ne Win said.

Security consideration must be included to work with foreign countries and preventing fake news from spreading needs to be addressed to, he added: “At a time when we are building peace mutual trust, fake news should be prevented through existing laws.”

During the negotiations, U Myo Zaw Aung, Kawlin township of Sagaing Region MP stressed the importance of privacy and avoid shadowing, through phone interception or envelop opening, which would deviate from democratic standards.
On the other side, U Naing Htoo Aung, Nwartogyi township of Mandalay Region MP underlined the importance of combating the proliferation of fake news, which can potentially affect the nation’s stability.

Myanmar's growing reliance on Facebook presents both pros and cons. Social media can provide timely information and spread news. Yet, they can also be damaging if fake information is shared, according to the Minister for Transportation and Communication U Thant Zin Maung.

“A cyber law which conforms to international standards is being drafted by a special committee,” the minister added.

A careful balance is being sought between effective protection and infringement on privacy rights and censorship. The law wishes to dissociate itself from the notorious article 66(d) of the Telecommunication Law.

In September 2017, there were 56.127 million SIM card users and 46.391 millions mobile internet users. There were 14 million Facebook users till January, according to the minister.

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