Unique: Myanmar’s junta rolls out Chinese language digicam surveillance methods in additional cities


SINGAPORE, July 11 (Reuters) – Myanmar’s junta authorities is putting in Chinese language-built cameras with facial recognition capabilities in additional cities throughout the nation, three individuals with direct data of the matter stated.

In tenders to obtain and set up the safety cameras and facial recognition expertise, the plans are described as protected metropolis initiatives aimed toward sustaining safety and, in some circumstances, preserving civil peace, stated the people who find themselves or have been concerned within the initiatives.

For the reason that February 2021 coup, native authorities have began new digicam surveillance initiatives for at the least 5 cities together with Mawlamyine – the nation’s fourth-largest metropolis, in line with data from the three individuals who requested to not be recognized for worry of reprisals by the junta.

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The brand new initiatives are along with 5 cities the place digicam methods touted as crime prevention measures had been both put in or deliberate by the earlier authorities led by Aung San Suu Kyi, in line with the sources and native media.

A junta spokesman didn’t reply Reuters calls in search of remark. Not one of the 10 municipal governments, all of that are managed by the junta, answered calls in search of remark. Reuters was not in a position to overview the tenders or go to the cities to confirm the set up of the cameras.

The junta is planning digicam surveillance methods for cities in every of Myanmar’s seven states and 7 areas, stated one of many sources who was briefed on the junta’s plans on two events by totally different individuals.

The size of the junta’s efforts to roll out digicam surveillance methods has not been beforehand reported.

The tenders have been gained by native procurement corporations together with Fisca Safety & Communication and Naung Yoe Applied sciences Co, the three sources stated. The corporations supply the cameras and a few associated expertise from Chinese language surveillance giants Zhejiang Dahua Expertise (002236.SZ) (Dahua), Huawei Applied sciences Co Ltd (HWT.UL) and Hikvision (002415.SZ), the three sources added.

Fisca and Naung Yoe, each headquartered in Yangon, didn’t reply to requests for remark.

Huawei and Dahua didn’t reply to Reuters requests for remark. Hikvision stated in a press release it has by no means offered on to Myanmar authorities authorities and its clients in abroad markets are distributors and integrators. It additionally stated it had not offered facial recognition expertise into the nation.

Hikvision didn’t reply to queries about whether or not it is aware of of circumstances the place its {hardware} able to operating facial recognition software program had been offered into Myanmar.

The three sources additionally stated Myanmar procurement corporations that gained the tenders typically use facial recognition software program developed by native and regional corporations because the Chinese language software program licenses are pricey. They didn’t title the software program corporations.

SURVEILLANCE CONCERNS

Closed-circuit tv (CCTV) or video surveillance methods are utilized by many cities all over the world to discourage crime. More and more controversial facial recognition software program can also be being employed, with the expertise gaining floor in america for regulation enforcement functions. Some subtle methods, comparable to these utilized in Chinese language cities, use synthetic intelligence to match real-time photos of individuals in opposition to a database of photos. learn extra

The individuals with direct data of the Myanmar initiatives and human rights teams stated they worry the brand new initiatives might be used to crack down on activists and resistance teams, each of which have been designated as terrorists by the junta within the wake of its coup.

They weren’t in a position to present proof of the junta’s intentions.

“Surveillance cameras pose a critical danger to (Myanmar’s) democracy activists as a result of the navy and police can use them to trace their actions, determine connections between activists, establish protected homes and different gathering spots, and acknowledge and intercept vehicles and bikes utilized by activists,” Human Rights Watch Deputy Asia Director Phil Robertson stated in a press release to Reuters.

Myanmar’s junta is engaged in widespread surveillance. It has put in intercept spyware and adware at telecom and web suppliers to snoop on communications of its residents and deployed “data fight” items to watch and assault dissenters on-line, Reuters has reported. learn extra

The military has officers devoted to analysing surveillance digicam feeds, Nyi Thuta, a former captain who defected from the navy in late February 2021, advised Reuters. He stated he was not conscious of what number of officers had been assigned to this work, however described visiting CCTV management rooms staffed by troopers within the capital Naypyidaw. Reuters was unable to independently confirm this and the junta spokesman didn’t reply to a request for remark.

TEN CITIES

Mawlamyine held a young for a digicam surveillance system shortly after the coup, in line with the three sources. The cities of Taunggyi and Dawei adopted within the months after, two of them stated.

The Mawlamyine tender was collectively gained by Fisca and Naung Yoe, the 2 sources stated. The tenders for Dawei and Taunggyi went to Fisca, stated one supply, including that every metropolis has seen lots of of Dahua cameras put in this 12 months.

In Mawlamyine, there are actually over 200 Dahua cameras and extra are as a result of be put in, one other of the sources stated.

Dahua cameras had been put in this 12 months in Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin, a area of ethnic unrest, one supply stated, including that the federal government of Hpa-an metropolis has begun early discussions a few digicam system.

Earlier than the coup, Suu Kyi’s authorities put in CCTV cameras in Naypyidaw and Yangon, Myanmar’s greatest metropolis, whereas town of Mandalay had additionally inked an settlement for a digicam surveillance system with Huawei, in line with native media and two sources.

Huawei cameras had been mixed with facial recognition software program in Naypyidaw, one supply stated. In Yangon, the surveillance system consists of a Hikvision site visitors command centre and a mixture of digicam manufacturers, stated one other of the sources.

For the reason that coup, the junta has advised Mandalay – Myanmar’s second-largest metropolis – to maneuver extra rapidly on putting in cameras, two sources stated. One supply stated that at the least 300 Huawei cameras had been put in earlier than the coup, with lots of extra to come back.

The town of Bagan – a historic vacationer centre – additionally held a young for a digicam surveillance system earlier than the coup, two sources stated.

Within the state of Rakhine, the place the navy is battling an ethnic armed group, CCTV methods with Huawei cameras have been deployed by Myanmar’s safety forces since 2019 within the metropolis of Sittwe and a few villages, one supply stated.

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Reporting by Fanny Potkin; Further reporting by David Kirton in Shenzhen, Brenda Goh in Shanghai and Poppy McPherson in Bangkok; Modifying by Edwina Gibbs

Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Belief Ideas.



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