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Internet Blackout in Myanmar Stalls Citizen Report

CowboyNeal posted more than 6 years ago | from the for-their-own-safety-of-course dept.

Censorship 185

StonyandCher writes "The government in Myanmar has reportedly cut off Internet access in the troubled country. The loss of Internet access in Myanmar has slowed the tide of photos and videos shared with the rest of the world but people outside of the troubled country continue to use new media sites and other technologies to protest military activity in the Southeast Asia country."

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185 comments

American Money (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20793943)

"American money is like baseball cards with slave owners on it"

- Dave Chapelle

Re:American Money (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20793983)

"And african money is like toilet paper with shit on it."

Why Is This Modded Up??!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20794287)

This has absolutely no relevance to the story whatsoever. Why are the moderators abusing their mod points yet agaain?

Re:Why Is This Modded Up??!! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20794411)

Clearly, the situation in Myanmar is all America's fault. If they hadn't invented the Internet, then it couldn't be cut off.

Site with TFA is loaded with flash (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20793945)

Printer-friendly link [goodgearguide.com.au] .

routing around censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20793953)

I guess the famous quote about the internet treating censorship like damage and routing around it doesn't do much good to the people who's government controls their internet...

Re:routing around censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20793995)

Great, another tinpot little country [shelleytherepublican.com] with quaint folk customs [shelleytherepublican.com] we're gunna have to go and liberate [shelleytherepublican.com] ... I guess this modest proposal is the burden we'll have to bear if we want to bring Democracy and the Love Of Jesus (in a platonic way) to these wierd people.

Re:routing around censorship (2, Funny)

Markspark (969445) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794263)

there's really no need to worry about that.. Burma is a very poor country, and has no oil, so i see no reason why Bush would want to "liberate" the Burmese people.

Burma has lots of oil (5, Informative)

Langfat (953252) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794319)

Burma is a very resource-rich country. The problem is that rather than the wealth going to the people, it is funneled into the pockets of the military generals (who then splurge on their daughters' weddings) [youtube.com]

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Burma has tons of oil. Chevron and Total are the two Western companies profiting the most, but China, India and Russia all have significant (read multi-BILLION dollar) investments as well..

Re:routing around censorship (1)

butlerdi (705651) | more than 6 years ago | (#20795347)

I seem to remember that Burma has somewhere around 0.7% of easily reclaimable oil. Cant find the figure at the moment. NB They also have a shitload of Opium.

This, my friends.... (4, Interesting)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | more than 6 years ago | (#20793987)

... is exactly why you don't want to destroy the utility of the HF radio spectrum to sell it to broadband-over-power-line Internet providers.

You don't want to put all of your communication eggs in one government-controlled basket.

Re:This, my friends.... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20794017)

is why they said the revolution would not be televised.

Re:This, my friends.... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20794049)

Shh! Don't give the Junta any ideas! As it is, we Americans are already a miss-behaving bad example to the rest of the world.

Re:This, my friends.... (3, Insightful)

tloh (451585) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794229)

Actually I was just being facetious. But I am curious to know the current state of ham radio in other parts of the world. Has anyone ever exchanged QSL with someone in Burma? Might be a good time for state-side hams to start listening and do some credit to the amateur radio discipline.

Re:This, my friends.... (1)

brunson (91995) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794681)

I think it's actually because they don't use the metric system. Their pipes were the wrong size to attach to the rest of the world.

Re:This, my friends.... (4, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794477)


is exactly why you don't want to destroy the utility of the HF radio spectrum to sell it to broadband-over-power-line Internet providers.


Right. Because we all know an oppressive government that's willing and able to cut off internet access to an entire country won't be able to send a couple soldiers to gun down the guy down the street blasting HF in his ham shack.

I think violating government spectrum policy would be the last thing such a person would be worried about.

Re:This, my friends.... (1)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 6 years ago | (#20795479)

The difference is that the cost of running a ham shack is maybe power generator, $50 and a some haggling at a flea market. Running a HF radio isn't perfect, but compared to the alternative (that is, word of mouth) its far better than what they have now.

Oh and in a country like Burma (aka Myanmar), violating government spectrum policy probably comes with penalty of death for you any anyone nearby the equipment.

Re:This, my friends.... (0, Troll)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794669)

According to one article i read, owning a gps device is a pretty much a shoot on sight offense. How the hell do you think peopel in this kind of government are going to "lobby" it for ham radio rights? Heck, its shoot on sight for technology that they cant control. I am sick of people like you who see something horrible in the news and then recast it to fit your your own pathetic acitivism. If youre biggest concern is "selling off RF rights" then you've lead an incredibly pampered life and have nothing in common with the people of Burma and what is going on. Youre like a rich guy saying 'this ethnic cleansing is as bad as that caviar from last night.'

Re:This, my friends.... (1)

SonnyJimATC (939056) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794903)

You are all completing missing the point. If ethernet over powerlines came in, the interference will be so bad that you won't be able to pick up HF signals, propagated legally or not.

Ah, well ... (1)

Aetuneo (1130295) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794015)

Time to start using pigeons (or smoke signals) to get information ... I wonder what sort of compression would have to be used to get a fairly good speed connection?

Re:Ah, well ... (1)

UncleTogie (1004853) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794141)

Time to start using pigeons (or smoke signals) to get information ...

Reference RFC 1149 [faqs.org] for all the data currently available....

Re:Ah, well ... (4, Funny)

Qubit (100461) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794157)

Time to start using pigeons...I wonder what sort of compression...

Now I'm no birdkeeper, but have you ever tried to gzip a pigeon before?

Re:Ah, well ... (5, Funny)

Leftist Troll (825839) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794207)

have you ever tried to gzip a pigeon before?

Compressing a pigeon is not difficult (though a little messy), it's decompressing it that I can't quite figure out.

Re:Ah, well ... (1)

Markspark (969445) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794325)

you should put it in a glass container, and drop the pressure until it expands to wanted size.

Re:Ah, well ... (1)

Curtman (556920) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794543)

Now I'm no birdkeeper, but have you ever tried to gzip a pigeon before?

It's probably much easier to gzip a pidgin [pidgin.im] .

Re:Ah, well ... (1)

jhines (82154) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794333)

While this was meant as a joke, a pigeon could carry a pretty good sized flash chip these days. Some of the old spy tricks almost make sense with today's tech.

Umm... only question: Why so late? (4, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794031)

The first thing an oppressive government usually does when unrest is rising is to make sure independent news and reports can't escape, so the only source for information is the official one. They actually took their time to do that, given that the civil war has started almost half a month ago.

Well, maybe their astrologer said they should wait 2 more weeks 'cause then the stars are aligned or something.

Re:Umm... only question: Why so late? (2, Informative)

damburger (981828) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794061)

I don't think your average autocratic police state is that tech-savvy - Burma is run by peope whose expertise lies more in the area of killing and torture.

It may simply have not occurred to them to do this

Re:Umm... only question: Why so late? (-1, Troll)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794161)

Those bastards and their managed economies. Don't they know that innocent people are suffering? They should just do as the Monks are asking, abandon their responsibilities to their society, give up, and let the market manage itself.

Sure, lots of people will die in the short term, but that's just the free market correcting itself. Once that short term correction is over, I'm sure those that are left will all be rich and free and life will be wonderful.

Yeah, those monks come from the most caste driven culture in the world, where someone born in the lowest castes are forced to remain there forever, and it's true, they don't have the slightest clue how to manage a population that has grown beyond what a primitive, tribal level of technology can sustain, but come on, they're pacifists opposing communism! They must be good guys! Fox News told me so!

Re:Umm... only question: Why so late? (1)

damburger (981828) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794203)

I'm almost certainly further left than you, and I don't support killing of peaceful protesters and reporters trying to tell people about peaceful protesters.

Re:Umm... only question: Why so late? (1)

visualight (468005) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794317)

Yeah, those monks come from the most caste driven culture in the world, where someone born in the lowest castes are forced to remain there forever



What in the hell are you talking about?

Re:Umm... only question: Why so late? (3, Informative)

aneeshm (862723) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794417)

I'm sorry to say this, but this is complete, total rubbish, probably born of ignorance.

If you knew ANYTHING about the societies which were (they aren't now) run on a system of caste organisation, you would know that the monkhood is open to everyone.

In India, in all Indic-influenced countries, one of the things that a monk undergoes is the renunciation of his ties with the world, including his birth, his caste, and his society. He is a free spirit. There is a saying, "Never seek the source of a sannyasi or a river." This basically means that once a person is a renunciate, that's it, you don't bother what he was before his new life, the old self is dead. This is the position taken by everyone, from the ultra-orthodox to the most liberal, and is the way things have been done for millennia.

A part of renunciation includes conducting a full and proper funeral for the "old self", where all links to the past are cut. It is a difficult thing to do or undergo, but once it is done, that's it, it's over. You have no caste, no gender, no ties with the world, no regard for the taboos of your society, and no fear of the power structures within it.

As for the allegation that monks do not do their duty to society - isn't it the exact opposite that is happening here? Aren't the monks acting as a rallying point for the protests?

Re:Umm... only question: Why so late? (1)

blueskies (525815) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794821)

What a lame troll! Dude, i can't even say nice try.

Re:Umm... only question: Why so late? (1)

mikael (484) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794135)

It does't take too much skill to figure out how to switch a router off, or to switch off the power supply to a satellite dish farm.

Maybe there is some way a communications satellites could boost the signal so that ordinary mobile phones could be turned into satellite phones?

Re:Umm... only question: Why so late? (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794475)

The Internet blackout happened in the 24 hours after the first violent repression. It has been fairly synchronized. Of course they claim that this is due to damages done to a submarine cable...

Control=Cut off information (3, Informative)

kcpearly15 (1161509) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794037)

I guess this goes back to the idea that if you can control the information going to and from people, you can control the people themselves. It is really a statement of where the internet is today in terms of importance around the world. I would like to see if anyone from this country manages to make an "underground" makeshift connection to the internet. Also, does any one else find it interesting that the group forming together to protest for the rights of the monks is on facebook?

Re:Control=Cut off information (1)

Langfat (953252) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794217)

Here's a direct link to the group. [facebook.com]

There's lots of rumours swirling on the message walls, but they often get news hours before it's broken by the mainstream media. The group has several people with live contacts inside the country.

Re:Control=Cut off information (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794685)

>Also, does any one else find it interesting that the group forming together to protest for the rights of the monks is on facebook?

Not at all. Seems obviously typical for something college students (90% of facebook) to do.

Re:Control=Cut off information (1)

woodrad (1091201) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794937)

Seems fitting to me, colleges are full of archetypal Causeheads.

Pictures so far (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20794065)

As much as I detest those self-indulgent tyrants that make up the government (check youtube for the wedding of the generals daughter from last year complete with diamond necklace, champagne etc. reminiscent of the party the Shah in Iran threw before he got deposed by the Iranian revolution, also lead by clerics), judging by all the leaked photos I've seen so far they are actually trying their best not to escalate the situation. They will use force in the form of beating were the crowd may get out of hand (as any riot police would) and they seem to reserve the bullets only for a select few, such as ring-leaders or the press (e.g. the Japanese photographer - it almost looked liked he was surgically picked off by a sniper), hence the low number of confirmed casualties.

Defeating repressive government censorship (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20794075)

Would it be possible for the open source community to launch a project to essentially make it impossible for a government to cut off its own people from the outside world? Not simply to overcome the great firewall of China, but a type of watchdog system that can spring into action at a time like this.

In other words, is there anything we in the open source community can do to tangibly help the monks in Burma, or any monks the future may bring?

Re:Defeating repressive government censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20794567)

Lets air drop sat phones with USB ports :-)

We can configure them so that all they could use them for is to upload information that would then be sorted and disemenated by their friends on the outside.

A few million dollars and retasking of some UAVs or slow ass blimps operating under the cover of darkness should do the trick.

According to the CIA world factbook burma has 2 radio stations and 2 tv stations and a mere 78k Internet users out of a population of 47.3m.

There are 503k phone lines and 184k cell subscribers as of 2005. In the two year lag I can only assume cell usage has doubled or tripled.

Re:Defeating repressive government censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20794727)

Seriously, what does open source have to do with telecommunications?

Re:Defeating repressive government censorship (1)

scottv67 (731709) | more than 6 years ago | (#20795431)

Would it be possible for the open source community to launch a project to essentially make it impossible for a government to cut off its own people from the outside world?

How about we (speaking as a citizen of the U.S.) keep our nose out of other countries' business? We don't need to ride to the rescue every time someone somewhere on the globe is being oppressed. If the government of Myanmar wants to cut-off Internet connectivity to its citizens, that is *not* a reason for the U.S. to meddle in that situation.

If you can't resist the urge to help someone, then help someone in your own community.

Where are you, George? (0, Troll)

hjf (703092) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794093)

Where's the US Army now? Come on! There's a troubled country that needs to be freed! Come on, there's repression, censorship, people are getting killed! You HAVE to free them, you need to restore peace! Just like you did with Iraq. What's that? Myanmar doesn't have oil like Iraq? What does it have to do with it? You didn't go to Iraq because of the oil, did you? You didn't attack Iraq for revenge for the 9/11, did you?

Re:Where are you, George? (0)

damburger (981828) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794129)

China is already bleeding the US in Iraq (via its proxy Iran) so Bush is unlikely to give them another arena in which to do that. What he might do, however, is try to repay the favour by goading the Chinese into going in to Burma themselves.

Re:Where are you, George? (-1, Flamebait)

lalleglad (39849) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794443)

I think thou have a too limited view upon the world of politics.
And Bush is too stupid to think about too complex thoughts, just like his father. Leaving the bottle after so many years didn't seem to be enough.

China has its hands full reg. developing its own economics and avoiding political trouble at home and abroad. It may be difficult for you to understand that not everyone wants US politics or even its own politics in all other countries.

US has to be the only country in the World that seems not to give a damn about its home ground, but uses so much energy to fix up all other countries.

Leave Burma alone, as you should have Iraq. Global terrorism hasn't decreased, but increased because of the latter Iraq war.

Instead, use positive political means to help the foreign opinions you favor, instead of the brain dead direct negative measures you again and again fail to get good results out of (Bay of Pigs, Vietnam, Grenada, Kuwait, Iraq, well even the Korean War didn't solve much, North Korea is still in power last time I watched).

Did I mention that the dinosaur once in a while gets its butt kicked? How many dead so far in Iraq?
Are political means sometimes a good way to deal with other countries? You should try it sometimes, without the bullying tactics!

Re:Where are you, George? (1)

neongrau (1032968) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794497)

huh?

goading the chinese? wth would the chinese have any interest in helping the myanmar/burma democratic movement?
they would end up having the militray regime substituted with a communist leadership?

besides naming there isn't much of a difference. one has its dictator with a military rank the other has its dictator with the rank of leader of the communist party.

nothing that would do the people of myanmar any good. in fact it would get worse. so far the regime "just" sent soldiers to stop and shoot protestors while china typically sends tanks right away.

Re:Where are you, George? (3, Insightful)

nagora (177841) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794769)

China is already bleeding the US in Iraq (via its proxy Iran)

Oh, grow up.

Iran and Iranians are only too happy to aid the insurgents in Iraq for the very, very simple reason that a bunch of total cunts dropped weapons of mass destruction on them in the form of nerve gas and bio weapons. Who were these bastards that went beyond any acceptable limits of civilised behaviour? Well, goodness me! It seems that it was the good old US of fucking A and it's ongoing mission to bring democracy and strong IP laws to the world! And strangely, dropping plagues on Iran has led to anti-American feeling there?! They're just unreasonable, those ragheads.

If America had treated my country the way the US treated Iran, I'D be an insurgent too, and I suspect you would too, without any need to listen to anti-China fairy stories.

Apart from anything else, there's a mountain of reasons to hate China without having to make new ones up. Unless, of course, you are really just trying to justify some other totally unconnected policy.

TWW

Re:Where are you, George? (1)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794931)

What's interesting about Iran is that after 9/11 they seemed to be the only country in that part of the world that felt bad about what happened. I believe they were one of the few countries that held candlelight vigils that night and prayed for the victims of the attacks.

Re:Where are you, George? (1)

nagora (177841) | more than 6 years ago | (#20795353)

What's interesting about Iran is that after 9/11 they seemed to be the only country in that part of the world that felt bad about what happened. I believe they were one of the few countries that held candlelight vigils that night and prayed for the victims of the attacks.

Yes, but that didn't fit Rumsfeld's self-justification so they had to be pushed and pushed into a corner so that they'd support I'madinnerjacket who would in turn spout the correct rhetoric to give a causus beli for an invasion. Which in turn is another reason for them to support the uprisings in Iraq - if the US sorts out Iraq then they'll get it next.

Iran has no reason to do anything except hurt the US where it can, and that's entirely of the US's own doing.

TWW

Re:Where are you, George? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20795415)

> What's interesting about Iran is that after 9/11 they seemed to be the only country in that part of the world that felt bad about what happened

That is interesting!

And the way the USA thanked them was to put them on the "axis of evil" and threaten to bomb them back to the stone age.

Is it any wonder they hate you? This seems to be a common pattern of USA in the world: a nation reaches out to you in friendship, and you turn around and hit them in the face. Then the USA claims to be mystified about why it has no more friends in the world.

Gee... I don't know. Why could that be? Maybe because you get in everybody else's face? Maybe if you stopped being the big bully, even your former closest allies would not be trying to distance themselves from you. Sooner or later you will discover that you cannot be the John Wayne cowboy, and you need to have friends, not only enemies. You cannot survive in the long term by making enemies of everyone.

WTF? Haven't you heard of Burmah Oil? (2, Informative)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794143)

Myanmar == Burma

It has large quantities of oil and gas...

WTF do you think there are problems in the place all of a sudden? Do you think it's coincidence there are problems and unrest in oil producing countries now that world oil production has fallen for the last few years?

http://www.worldoil.com/INFOCENTER/STATISTICS_DETAIL.asp?Statfile=_worldoilproduction [worldoil.com]

 

Re:WTF? Haven't you heard of Burmah Oil? (1)

echucker (570962) | more than 6 years ago | (#20795341)

No, but I have heard of Burma Shave.

Myanmar has tons of oil... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20794145)

But China called dibs.

flamebait my butt (1, Flamebait)

unity100 (970058) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794171)

the parent is packing heavy punch, and you all know it. use your mod points wisely instead of political nitpicking. or dont use them at all.

Re:flamebait my butt (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794269)

I would mod that post the same. Cliched post pushes the usual Bush and Iraq-oil buttons. There's no "heavy punch" there.

like godwin's law ... (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794341)

something being overused does not mean that it will be misused every time that it is used.

Brilliant global politics (2, Insightful)

Hrothgar The Great (36761) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794409)

Your understanding of the issues surrounding this situation seem to be extremely poor, and the observations made in the post you are defending are equally ignorant and childish.

The situation for the US, or any Western government which might want to get involved militarily in Myanmar today is simple - involve your military today in Myanmar, and you will almost certainly find yourself facing the very threatening military might of China, their strongest ally.

It would require you reading maybe half of one of the dozens of articles written about the Myanmar mess in the last week or so to understand this. I'm actually kind of disgusted with the laziness displayed in this forum, but I guess it's nothing new. Go back to digg or whatever, seriously.

Re:Brilliant global politics (0, Troll)

quantic_oscillation7 (973678) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794755)

off course.... for USA, there are bad evil and good evil....what a joke!!! why are the countries policy so hypocrit? usa, EU my country Portugal, but USA is the most hypocrit of all, they don't care about they're own citizens they just care about money, wars oil, all for the richest of a small few.

Re:Brilliant global politics (1)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794943)

Learn things before you speak. You sound like a High School Junior. "OMG BUSH R EVIL N GUBBEMENT R BAD CUZ DEY KIL PEOPL."

Honestly, things are a lot more complex than you think.

that soo ? (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 6 years ago | (#20795475)

The situation for the US, or any Western government which might want to get involved militarily in Myanmar today is simple - involve your military today in Myanmar, and you will almost certainly find yourself facing the very threatening military might of China, their strongest ally.


i didnt see any hesitation from anybody on the face of the world on bush & co part when they decided to invade iraq.

no sir, methinks you need to read a lot of 'articles' and actual late politics history before putting out such brilliant theories belittling other arguments.

Re:Where are you, George? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20794179)

No, no, you have it all wrong.

The citizens of Myanmar already have the freedom to live under a combined military-financial behemoth that controls all of the nation's major resources.

This is what we fought to give the Iraqis, and what we fight daily to maintain in America. It is a noble fight, which you smear with your mischaracterization.

Re:Where are you, George? (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794347)

Because Myanmar is right in there with Vietnam.

Re: Dear idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20794393)

Myanmar has loads of oil. And it's all going to China. Which supports the military government of Myanmar.
Nothing new.

Just boycott China. Products, government, etc. as much as you can. Ignore the Olympics. Don't participate.
Pressure them constantly on environment, work conditions, rights, etc.

Nothing will change in Myanmar until pressure comes from China. But not likely, considering what they do in Tibet, etc.

Re:Where are you, George? (1)

ynososiduts (1064782) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794629)

But see, going to war with Myanmar means going to war with China. No one wants that.

Satellite access a possibility? (4, Interesting)

Langfat (953252) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794115)

I have never used a satellite internet provider, but I know that they do exist. Could someone on slashdot explain what is required for such service? I assume a modem which would be registered with a satellite provider. What is the feasibility of smuggling such things into Burma?

Modems? (1)

Attaturk (695988) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794173)

What about phone lines? Surely I'm not the only one old enough to ask whether people can dial out to international dial-up lines. It'd only take a relative abroad to hook up their broadband-connected PC to their old phone modem and unless your line is tapped it'd be just another phone call to the family.

Re:Modems? (1)

Langfat (953252) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794189)

It's all controlled by the military. They've effectively cut off access to the outside world.

Re:Modems? (1)

philpalm (952191) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794271)

Public utilities like the telephone companies are also controled by the government in the US. Thus they were allowed to wiretap large telephone companies' facilities. I don't think the US has the ability to completely black out news like Burma, but I think the US military is taking notes on Burma so they can do the same thing...

Morse? (4, Interesting)

Attaturk (695988) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794437)

If they've cut off every single international phone line you can still radio data in and out. People tend to think that going high tech is the way to break out of these kinds of situations - e.g. satellites etc. - when often going back to flashing light semaphore or carrier pigeon is more likely to succeed.

Losing the connection to Burma slightly, the Romans employed four flags on poles to communicate messages up and down Hadrian's Wall. In ideal conditions they could get a 4-bit message from one end to the other (70-something miles) in a matter of seconds - that's a pretty good bitrate for something with no electricity behind it. Granted you can't get streaming video of monks being beaten up at that kind of bandwidth but radio's a different story.

And setting up mobile radio stations is probably easier than installing a massive communications line of wooden poles without the military noticing. Many brave individuals carefully concealed both receivers and transmitters throughout occupied Europe often at great personal risk, for example. Communications routed around damage even back then. I'm sure there are people within that country right now beaming data out. I wonder where messages in bottles cast out on their beaches would wash ashore. You could squeeze quite a bit of memory into a bottle.

Anyway, I think what I'm rambling about is that there's always a way. I just hope there are enough people with the balls out there taking these risks and, much more importantly, I hope that their messages do not fall on deaf ears. Sadly I feel some of the more powerful countries, who might otherwise be in a position to levy some immense pressure on the Burmese junta, are somewhat under-staffed at the moment. Although it's fair to say that some other countries - that are most definitely not under-staffed - remain on the outside of this affair for rather more cryptic and apparently self-serving reasons.

All said with humble and awkward apologies for commenting on the topic while enjoying a comfortable yet-to-be-oppressed privileged lifestyle.

Re:Morse? (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 6 years ago | (#20795561)

Actually carrier pigeons with 1 to 3 gig flash drives doesn't sound like a bad idea. It would probably reach it's destination faster too if you're talking about transferring up to 3 gigs over a 56k line.

Better Idea (1)

Shauni (1164077) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794557)

If we start tunneling through the phone lines, governments can just cut the cables there too (except for "official" uses of course). Ground-based communication in general is trickier with Burma due to low resources and dense jungle. Satellites are a good idea, and they are already being used to document Myanmar atrocities. [time.com] Tech isn't good enough to get detailed accounts of the protests (only stuff the people are actually *protesting* like the civilian relocations and shelling of villages), but it's a good start.

Re:Satellite access a possibility? (1)

rastilin (752802) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794377)

I was looking into just such a service a while back. All you need is a modem and an account with the provider. The problem is that these people charge insanely high rates like $1 USD per MB of data. I doubt anyone who would be willing to attempt it could afford to fund such a connection. If they could however, it's very feasable as field reporters in Iraq used a similar system to transfer footage back home.

On that note, it might be a better idea to smuggle a reporter into the country.

Thanks for the info (1)

Langfat (953252) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794505)

I'd gladly donate money for the equipment/bandwidth costs, but I don't even know where to begin looking. Perhaps a pro-democracy Burmese group or some such.

At any rate, thanks for your input.

Re:Satellite access a possibility? (1)

drspliff (652992) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794405)

Traditionally with satellite internet systems you'd have a modem uplink with the download handled by a satellite reciever. However there are relatively new two-way systems (which I used when ADSL was not available in my area), but their prohibatively expensive most of the time (1000-3000 GBP in hardware & setup costs, plus ~100 GBP per month).

I don't have any experience of what internet access is like in Burma, but in Cambodia it's expensive even before you take into account the average wage and satellite definately wouldn't be possible or feasable. These are static systems and probably wouldn't be very appropriate.

However, almost all the large news agencies I know of have portable satellite phones just for this purpose - but I wouldn't want to be the person called to fly down to Burma considering the current stance on foreign media (the traditional stance on control, their public statements this week and the "incident" where a Japanese photographer was killed).

Re:Satellite access a possibility? (1)

the_womble (580291) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794721)

There are plenty of ways around it, but governments do not care about expensive workarounds, or those that require technical knowledge. They want to stop the mass of the people from seeing things.

I doubt the Burmese government cares much about us seeing the pictures, they want their own people to be not sure what is going on. They do not, for example, want people in other cities seeing the protests in Rangoon, and starting their own.

please... (4, Informative)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794193)

as someone mentioned before, call the country Burma. That's the name which signifies that you don't accept the legitimacy of the murders who have stolen the country and ruled over it for all these years.

Also, I don't get the anti-bush tag, he seems to be doing a lot more than most to help the situation...

Regarding Bush (1)

Langfat (953252) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794343)

I am certainly no fan of Dubya, however I heard today that the administration might see democracy for the Burmese people as their last chance to go down in the history books as something other than a laughing stock. If this is true and Bush keeps the world's attention focused on Burma for the next few weeks then that will be a positive development for the people there.

Of course, this doesn't excuse any of their behaviour in other parts of the world *cough*iraq*cough*afghanistan*cough*

Re:please... (2, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794525)


That's the name which signifies that you don't accept the legitimacy of the murders who have stolen the country and ruled over it for all these years.


Bah. Countries are as countries do. If you have the ability to act like a government, you're a government. It's pointless and counter-productive to play some dumb name game where you close your eyes and pretend reality isn't reality.

political naming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20794581)

"Burma" is the name given to the country by the British colonialists who didn't bother to learn the language. Myanmar was not "given" to the country by the junta, as it was used for that region for centuries and still is a term used by the locals whether or not they oppose the junta. If anything "Burma" is the politically charged name! What's in the name anyway? What matters is your position and whether or not you are willing to help, not what name you use. Using "Burma" signifies next to nothing.
 
It's somewhat strange to see people getting all riled up about some country they wouldn't even be able to point to on a map let alone know anything about language/culture/history from that region apart from what's suddenly being broadcast on TV and blogs. (By this I don't necessariy mean the parent, but certain other pos(t)ers, but i guess it's to be expected)

Re:please... (2, Insightful)

butlerdi (705651) | more than 6 years ago | (#20795295)

I do believe the name Burma came from when the British were the murders who had stolen the country and ruled over it for all those years.

Re:please... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20795441)

Would it help to learn some history?

The Burmese warlords used to regularly raid and invade India and Siam during the 1800s. The Brits and Siamese allied, and fought them back three times, eventually occupying the country for their own protection.

Burma is the spoken name for the country - Myanmar is the written name.

The country is traditionaly ruled by fierce fighters who tried to enslave everyone around, as now. If the Brits were still there this would not be happening.
 

Re:please... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20795445)

Also as previously mentioned foxnews uses burma more then myanmar; as opposed real new channels. What are you a foxnews lover??/

Fucking Myanmar... (2, Insightful)

danielsfca2 (696792) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794195)

Isn't this shit sad? I mean, a tyrannical military government that nobody wants in power, who's abusing that power by willfully shooting civilians. Of course, our leaders don't give a rats ass beyond talking about how "concerned" or "saddened" or "disappointed" because Myanmar doesn't have any oil, or strategic position we can use.

I'm not trying to say Iraq wasn't justified. It doesn't matter. Whether it was or not, I think Myanmar's military rulers need a good ass-kicking. And there's an ass we could kick overnight if we wanted to. Just bust in there to their headquarters and fire some automatic weapons at them just the same way they do to the innocent monks. That'll teach 'em. Throw in an election to put up a REAL government, and we'd be home by Christmas.

Re:Fucking Myanmar... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20794237)

Err there already IS a real government and one with a Presedent-elect who is a Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

The whole point of the protests is that the ruling junta never allowed her to take office after they won the election.

It's worse than that... (3, Interesting)

Langfat (953252) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794245)

Burma DOES have oil. Chevron (US) and Total (French) are two of the biggest benefactors. China, Russia and India all have billions invested as well. So long as the money keeps coming, no one seems to care who is in power or how they exercise it...

Re:Fucking Myanmar... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20794381)

And there's an ass we could kick overnight if we wanted to. Just bust in there to their headquarters and fire some automatic weapons at them just the same way they do to the innocent monks. That'll teach 'em. Throw in an election to put up a REAL government, and we'd be home by Christmas.
Yea, exactly! That's exactly what they want us to do! They will greet us in the streets with flowers, even though they didn't ask for our help explicitly. That's a great plan - it worked great the last time around!

Ever considered the fact that the Burmese might want to fight their battle without some marines from half way around the globe busting in, smashing the place up real good, saving the fucking day and heading back home for Christmas?

Hate to break it to you, but shooting up stuff is not always the best method to help other people.

Re:Fucking Myanmar... (1)

Choad Namath (907723) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794913)

Considering the huge differences between the two countries, he has a point. Obviously we're not going to invade them and shouldn't. The fact that they actually have an active pro-democracy movement that is willing to risk their lives for their cause is quite a step above Iraq, though, where we just went by the word of a few exiles who told us what we wanted to hear.

Re:Fucking Myanmar... (1)

Tsu Dho Nimh (663417) | more than 6 years ago | (#20795075)

Throw in an election to put up a REAL government, and we'd be home by Christmas.

They had an election, and the junta ignored the results and put the newly elected government under house arrest or killed them.

Human Rights violation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20794199)

The UN has a Declaration of Human Rights, applicable to all humans, regardless of citizenship, etc.
Maybe globally blocking access to share information for political purposes should be declared as crime against humanity and politicians, trying to pull the plug should face the chance that they will be brought to internatinal court.

Re:Human Rights violation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20794329)

The U.N. "Universal Declaration of Human Rights" isn't worth the toilet paper it's written on. Notice the last part of its last Article makes everything said before it null and void if the U.N. so desires. Folks, the U.N. is just an organization to give "diplomats" a nice job in a better country.

Article 29. (3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Re:Human Rights violation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20794493)

lol wait, so is that clause saying that you have the freedom of speech, except that it is null and void if used to criticize the United Nations? Am I reading that right?

Re:Human Rights violation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20794645)

You have it right. Funny how most people don't know this. Wonder why they don't. Maybe it has something to do with public education, or maybe it's just plain apathy. It may even be an unwillingness to know the truth; we see a lot of that nowadays.

In contrast, the United States was founded on the belief that our rights came from God (whether you believe in God or not, I do, and I'll defend your rights). The U.N. and most countries believe your rights come from government. What comes from government can be taken away by government. See the difference? Now, how many geeks here still want to bash the U.S.? Ignorance abounds!

internet censorship in Myanmar brought to you by (3, Informative)

sdedeo (683762) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794439)

the American firm Fortinet [wikipedia.org] , which runs the Myanmar Wide Web [wikipedia.org] .

Re:internet censorship in Myanmar brought to you b (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20795339)

Funny that every time something like this happens, it always seems to be traceable back to the USA. China, Burma, but in the end, it's the bloody yanks providing the tools for censorship.

So much for the "land of the free"...

Where's USA democracy support ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20794787)

why USA doesn't bring democracy also to Myanmar?
USA has enough soldiers to run a war down there against
the local government.... that can be a great thing...

but...
wait...

sorry! not enough oil downthere... it belongs to China.
too bad!

First Burma, now Myanmar (0)

trickyrickb (910871) | more than 6 years ago | (#20794843)

this is getting out of control
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