SEAPA Alert: Internet cafes ordered to keep tabs on customers
9 February 2010
Source: Mizzima news
In a renewed attempt at putting Internet users in Burma on a leash,
the chairman of Pegu Township Peace and Development Council (TPDC)
ordered Internet cafe owners in Pegu to keep a record of personal
profiles of Internet users.
TPDC Chairman Aung Swe Myint summoned Internet cafe owners to his
office on 5 February and told them to maintain a record of Internet
users, including their names and addresses as ordered by “higher
“We had to sign a paper acknowledging the order. He mentioned it
was for security reasons,” an Internet cafe owner told Mizzima.
Earlier, cafe owners had to note down names of users only. Now they
have to record their addresses too. Most of their customers are
young students, another Internet cafe owner said.
“However, one is not sure if the addresses given are true.
Nevertheless, we have to note down whatever our customers tell us.
The new regulation is another blow to Internet freedom,” he said.
There are over 20 Internet cafes spread over Pegu. Most cafes use
generators as they receive electricity on a rotational basis. They
charge customers Kyat 400 per hour.
“We don’t use the Internet for business purposes but for acquiring
knowledge,” an Internet user told Mizzima.
Burma Media Association (BMA) Vice-Chairman Zin Lin said that the
new Internet regulation violated Article 19 of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights which stipulates freedom in seeking and
Mizzima News ( http://clicks.aweber.com/y/ct/?l=PFKox&m=1bmuL1aB8DKXin&b=3PFhURpttXTP4H0gh5akkw ) is a news organization
headquartered in New Delhi, India, run by exiled Burmese
journalists. A SEAPA partner, it aims to promote awareness about
the situation in Burma and promote democracy and freedom of
expression in the country.
Southeast Asian Press Alliance.
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