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WeGov

Fixing Myanmar With a Social Network

BY Rebecca Chao | Tuesday, July 1 2014

Before 2011, Myanmar was a technology desert. A basic SIM card was a black market item that could cost between US$50 to $300. Now as the country opens politically and as telecommunication companies and private businesses begin to invest in connectivity and infrastructure, Christoph Amthor hopes to leverage the country’s technological progress to connect the country’s civil society through a mobile and online platform. Read More

WeGov

Debate Over Role of the Internet in Developing Burma

BY Faine Greenwood | Wednesday, June 26 2013

Nay Phone Latt, Executive Director of MIDO, at Burma's first IFF (Faine Greenwood)

"You're going to an Internet freedom forum in Burma?" a friend of mine asked me. "Is that even legal?"  In another signal of Burma's technological and cultural-political changes, a small group of local bloggers, technologists, and general-interest geeks banded together to host the country's first ever forum on Internet freedom at the beginning of June. The event revealed optimism about opportunities for a newly connected society, even as bloggers and observers expressed uncertainty about growing tension between a desire for openness and a need for stability in the face of sectarian conflict. Read More

WeGov

Burma's Upcoming Telecom Revolution Will Probably Not Bring Internet Freedom

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, May 20 2013

Yangon, Burma, via Wikipedia

Burma (Myanmar) is on the threshold of an Internet revolution, but Human Rights Watch has warned companies to proceed with caution or risk trampling Burmese citizens' rights. Read More

WeGov

Where in the World is Eric Schmidt? This Week, Myanmar and India

BY Julia Wetherell | Thursday, March 21 2013

Eric Schmidt at the G8 Summit in 2011 (Wikimedia Commons).

After breaking ground for American corporate executives in North Korea this January (and taking his highly observant daughter along for the ride), Eric Schmidt is continuing his world tour of digitally repressive regimes this week.  Google’s executive chairman will visit Myanmar tomorrow, in the wake of the country’s first hesitant steps to Internet freedom.   Schmidt began his Southeast Asian trip with a pit stop in India yesterday, where the government has been pushing a tech agenda over the past year.

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WeGov

For American IT Giants, A Mission to Burma

BY Julia Wetherell | Wednesday, March 6 2013

After nearly 30 years of U.S. government imposed sanctions, several American information technology firms sent delegates on a trade visit to Burma (Myanmar), for the first time in the Internet age.  Facilitated by USAID, the US companies – including Google, Microsoft, HP, Intel, and Cisco – convened with the Burmese Chamber of Congress during an economic conference in Rangoon on February 25.  With Burma’s bid to join the Open Government Partnership looming, the meeting raises questions of a military regime’s ability to foster government accountability and transparency. Read More

WeGov

[Op-Ed] How Obama’s Foreign Policy Can Be Savvier about Tech and Democratization

BY Phil Howard | Tuesday, November 13 2012

600,000 Georgians Rally for Democracy, Sept 2012 (Photo from http://www.democracyingeorgia.org)

In this op-ed, author Philip Howard looks at recent events in Georgia, Hungary, Myanmar and Venezuela, countries that are all in flux--some moving toward greater democracy, some less. He argues that "the transportable strategy for all four countries—countries that have actually become archetypes for how a country can open up or close down—involves encouraging open Internet access and competitive media environments. These countries are now ideal points of intervention, where a deliberate US response on information policy reform would not only solve problems in those countries. It would send the right signals to the strongmen in neighboring countries." Read More