Poisoning the Digital Well
I’m following events in Burma as closely as most, partly because I covered the last uprising 19 years ago. Back then plain clothes officers would spread rumors about poisoned water pots placed around the city for demonstrators to drink from. Now they’re apparently trying to poison the well of pooled information, if this excellent BBC report is anything to go by:
[London-based Burma exile Ko Htike] described how he has received personal e-mails – and protesters within Burma have received mobile phone text messages – spreading false information and rumours, for example about military crackdowns on protesters.
The channel the protesters use to get information out is straightforward, but involves huge risks. Burma is not a place to take any kind of risk: the reach of the government is long, and their mercy small, even if their tech savvy is weakened since the fall of Khin Nyunt.
I worry this protest won’t be enough, however. Sometimes all the information in the world isn’t enough to stop repressive regimes being repressive.