Burma

Petition Calls on Norway to Block Telenor Myanmar Sale to Junta-Linked Firm

By The Irrawaddy 11 February 2022

Myanmar’s pro-democracy activists have launched an online petition calling for telecom operator Telenor to stop the sale of its subsidiary in Myanmar to a military-linked company and to safeguard users’ data.

The Norwegian telecom giant is planning to sell its operation in Myanmar to a joint partnership between Lebanon-based M1 Group and the regime-linked Shwe Bayin Phyu Group by February 15, according to Myanmar Now.

The partnership is due to be named Investcom Myanmar, which is yet to be registered. Shwe Byain Phyu, a military-linked gems and oil conglomerate, will be the majority stakeholder.

Campaigners said the planned sale of Telenor Myanmar would allow more than 18 million Telenor customers’ data, including anti-regime activists, to fall into the hands of the regime and lead to violence and arrests.

Launched on Thursday, the online campaign collected over 86,000 signatures by Friday afternoon. The petitioners called Telenor and its majority shareholder, the Norwegian government, to consider alternatives to the Investcom deal, including re-licensing, permanently deleting all data and shutting down its telecommunications infrastructure.

The campaign’s deadline is February 14.

On Thursday, the parallel National Unity Government’s acting president Duwa Lashi La said people trusted Telenor with highly sensitive information as an ethically responsible business that would protect its customers’ data security and safety.

“The sale of the Telenor group is not acceptable and should not be approved,” he wrote to Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store. He said the sale would endanger the security of 18.3 million Telenor customers.

The acting president urged Norway to respect Myanmar’s people and ignore decisions made by the illegal military regime and scrap plans to sell the business.


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