back to article Myanmar's military junta seeks ban on VPNs and digital currency

Myanmar's military junta has floated a cyber security law that would ban the use of virtual private networks, under penalty of imprisonment and/or fines, leaving digital rights organisations concerned about the effects of further closing the country off digitally to the outside world. The draft bill, dated January 13 is signed …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Nothing should be able to thwart the Great Eye of Surveillance

    And anything that does is automatically criminal and unacceptable.

    You will hide nothing, but you will still live in fear.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nothing should be able to thwart the Great Eye of Surveillance

      If only Starlink and it's kin could deliver...

  2. KittenHuffer Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    I wonder ....

    .... if steganography might be the answer!

    Embed your message in funny cat pics, and send them back and forth!

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: I wonder ....

      And you post those pictures where, exactly? And the person who decodes them and forwards on your message is where?

      For individual and short communications, this works great. Were there a small set of people plotting against the junta, be that planning to act to remove them from power or merely planning to spread some information that they want the public to overlook, steganography could be used to exchange those messages. The participants would have to find a service which is still allowed and post images that aren't suspicious. However, they can also simply use a shared encrypted channel that isn't yet blocked and get the same result. For example, they could log into a shared Google document using HTTPS, and if they did so, the traffic would look like normal Google traffic.

      The primary use, however, appears to be Facebook, or more broadly, large group communication. Steganography isn't useful in this case. A message hidden in a picture can't be broadcast to thousands or millions unless someone takes it out of the picture. Even if we made a steganographic VPN that would decode hidden messages and reencode them for each user, the required bandwidth for sending innocuous data would end up being infeasible. It would also end up having a distinct signature making it perhaps even easier to block than normal VPNs.

      1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

        Re: I wonder ....

        My mistake. I really should have used the joke icon shouldn't I!

  3. Gandalf87

    They are banning VPNs and cryptos when the entire world is adopting them. This is just hilarious, just curious what was the main motive behind this?

    1. Gordon 10

      Errm. Have you been living under a rock for the last year? A Military coup killing their own citizens says it all really.

      1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

        Though to be fair, when they had a democratically elected head of state she was just as enthusiastic about killing citizens. The whole country's a god-awful mess.

        1. crayon

          She wasn't elected head of state. She was barred from running for the top job on account of her spouse and offspring being foreigners (not sure whether she herself has any other nationality/citizenship). She was ruling by proxy.

          For years the west placed her on a pedestal and lauded her as a goddess of democracy. But when she came to power and didn't follow the script (ie cut ties with China and suck up to the west) the west got pissed off and started "taking back" the awards they heaped upon her in yesteryears.

          Her "killing citiizens" (I think you mean civilians) had nothing to do with her "fall from grace" (in the eyes of the west). Saudi Arabia and the UAE are killing civilians by the dozens daily in Yemen and the west are falling over themselves to supply them with weapons. Bliar killed hundreds of thousands in Iraq and Afghanistan and gets knighted for it. Obama started wars in Libya, Syria and Ukraine they're not asking him to return his ill-gotten and undeserved Nobel "Peace" Prize.

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      "just curious what was the main motive behind this?"

      VPNs: "If they can't talk on Facebook, and we don't let them circle around our block by using a VPN, then they can't figure out that everyone else hates dictatorships, right"?

      Cryptocurrency: "If they're all using local currency, we can cut it off with greater ease when we don't like what they did with it."

      Of course, with cryptocurrency, they're eventually going to have to add real currencies other than theirs to the list or give up on that one. Citizens are more likely to use dollars, rupees, or whatever international currency is easy to import than to agree on a blockchain to use.

    3. Sixtiesplastictrektableware

      Aren't the purveyors of north american entertainment currently waging a war on VPNs?

      Not directly comparable, but the same mechanism threatens a group of fewer people holding power or sway over a majority.

      I've never been forced to think too tough about the issue, so only now do I wonder if there could ever be a de-centralized VPN? Dunno how, in praxis. Just seems like it'd take some steam out of the 'my way or the highway' angle.

      1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge


        What rock have you been living under? Tor is basically a de-centralized VPN.

    4. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge


      China seems to be doing just fine having banned VPNs and cryptos when the entire world is adopting them. Like most "must have" high tech, the "must have" part is just marketing.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Governments that rules people by fear

    Are no better than any criminal ever.

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