Blogger arrested as regime steps up online surveillance

Blogger arrested as regime steps up online surveillance

Reporters Without Borders and the Burma Media Association firmly
condemn the arrest of blogger and writer Nay Myo Latt yesterday at his
home in the Rangoon district of Thingankyun.

“This hounding of bloggers is unacceptable,” the
two organisations said. “We do not know where Nay Bone Latt is being
held. We urge the authorities to release him and to stop this
persecution.”

A member of the outlawed National League for Democracy, Nay Myo Latt uses his blog ( http://www.nayphonelatt.net/
) to record the difficulties encountered by young Burmese when trying
to express themselves, especially since last autumn’s protests against
the military regime that were led by Buddhist monks. He also owns three
Internet Cafés in Burma and one of them is located in Thingankyun.

Those arrested during the protests included blogger Thar Phyu ( http://www.mogokemedia.blogspot.com
), who was held for several hours just for posting photos of monks and
demonstrators in the streets. His website has been closed.

The
Burmese authorities have stepped up their surveillance of the Internet
since the start of January, reportedly pressuring Internet café owners
to register the personal details (name, address and so on) of all users
and to programme (and save) screen captures every five minutes on each
computer. All this data is apparently then sent to the communication
ministry.

The Burmese exile news agency Mizzima quoted one
Internet café owner as saying: “No one wants to submit to these
measures but those who are most scared definitely will have complied.”

The only blog platform that until recently had still been accessible within Burma, the Google-owned Blogger http:///www.blogger.com),
has been censured by the regime since 23 January. Bloggers are no
longer able to post entries unless they use proxies are other ways to
circumvent censorship.

“This
blockage is one of the ways used by the government to reduce Burmese
citizens to silence,” Reporters Without Borders and the Burma Media
Association said. “They can no long post blog entries or disseminate
information. Burma is in danger of being cut off from the rest of the
world again.”

When contacted by Mizzima reporters, local
officials had no explanation for Blogger’s inaccessibility, saying they
had received no orders on the subject. Local bloggers say the
authorities also leave comments on blogs to dissuade other Internet
users from reading them, or sometimes redirect them to other sites.
Visitors to Niknayman ( http://niknayman.blogspot.com/
), one of the most popular sites last autumn, were redirected to a porn site.

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