Free Burma: Military attempts to seize UN hard drives and data

The Times is reporting that the military junta in Burma (aka: Myanmar) is attempting to seize the hard-drives at the UN offices in Rangoon. They’re saying that the UN officials initially refused to provide these drives and have been deleting information that could identify members of the opposition.

This is only the latest in a series of actions to identify and target protesters and stop the flow of information out of the country:

Some of the demonstrators have reportedly been arrested after being identified in footage of the rallies. The junta is going after the UN, in the belief that its officials allowed images to be transmitted through their own internet links – channelled via satellite phones and therefore less vulnerable to interference by the authorities.

“It’s part of this systematic, repressive response to the demonstrations,” said a Western diplomat in Rangoon. “We’ve seen them focus on people who directly participated in the demonstrations by picking them up through the videos Then they’ve arrested people with cameras containing images of the demos. And now they’re trying to track down the means that were used to send them out.”

The very same blog, image, and video feeds documenting the ongoing atrocities in Burma are also being used to commit them. Firewall logs and network captures are being used to find and arrest dissidents. It’s not hypothetical, it’s not paranoid, it’s real… and happening with the technology we’ve all been building.

A printer thousands of miles away is spewing out lists and pictures to be given to people following orders. Night will fall in a few hours and some geek like “Niknayman”, brave enough to post a picture or story, will disappear.

At least we know it’s happening. What should we do to fix it?