By Cyber Era Reporter
The Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA) has expressed deep concern about the impact that government/authorities’ restrictions on connectivity and internet services are having on citizens and businesses in Myanmar, and indeed, elsewhere on the globe.
“We call for the restoration of services in Myanmar, and any other country affected by service restrictions orders and network disruptions, as soon as possible,” GSMA said in a communication seen by Cyber Era.
As per the GSMA: “Restricting access to connectivity has far-reaching implications on people’s health, education, social and economic welfare. Prolonged lack of services is even more harmful in this time of a global health pandemic, and in such volatile times in Myanmar, as individuals increasingly rely on digital connectivity for their livelihoods and to access essential services and information.
Governments should only resort to service restriction orders in exceptional and pre-defined circumstances, and only if absolutely necessary and proportionate to achieve a specified and legitimate aim consistent with internationally recognised human rights and relevant laws. There should also be due process, oversight and transparency on the use of restriction orders.
The GSMA believes Governments should seek to avoid or mitigate the potentially harmful effects of service restriction orders by minimising the number of demands, the geographic scope, the functional scope, the number of potentially affected individuals and businesses and the duration of any restriction.
The GSMA stands ready to work constructively with relevant governments, authorities and stakeholders to assist in the restoration of services or mitigation of adverse impacts in all affected countries.
As providers of critical national infrastructure, mobile networks play an important role in protecting the general public and society as a whole. For example, mobile networks are used as a means of communication for the emergency services, particularly when responding to major incidents, while many incidents are reported by the public via mobile devices.
Service restrictions orders can affect the ability of society to function, individuals to transfer funds to friends and family and businesses to transact, pay suppliers or salaries. This can have a knock-on effect on credit and investment plans, ultimately damaging a country’s reputation for managing the economy and foreign investment, and discouraging donor countries from providing funds or other resources. Service disruptions which result in mobile operator financial losses, or supply chain disruptions, can also have longer-term implications on investment in those markets and subsequently further negative impacts on digital inclusion.
The GSMA discourages the use of service restriction orders. Governments should only resort to that measure in exceptional and pre-defined circumstances, and only if absolutely necessary and proportionate to achieve a specified and legitimate aim that is consistent with internationally recognised human rights and relevant laws.”