Citizens in Myanmar have an increased capacity to protect themselves online and secure their devices following a rapid intervention from the Southeast ChangeMakers initiative to provide a self-taught online digital safety course at http://www.digiseclab.org/
Following the February 2021 military coup, Myanmar citizens were exposed to greatly increased digital risk as police and army officials began seizing and checking people’s phones for evidence of attending protests or communicating about the coup. Many people were tracked, detained and subsequently jailed or tortured based on digital evidence. Although the SEA ChangeMakers project was originally geared toward mainstream digital safety and digital citizenship campaigns and policy advocacy, the coup brought an immediate need for more direct digital safety outreach on key risk points. Working with a team of anonymous digital rights activists, the project supported the design and launch of a video-based digital safety course with four tested modules. The team of activists managing the DigiSec Lab (DSL) outreach campaign and online course are following the same branded approach of Chong Hack and the other outreach efforts funded through the DRL initiatives in Vietnam and Cambodia.
“The first phase of developing DigiSec Lab has created a strong foundation, but there is still much to be done to help more Myanmar citizens to mitigate the many digital risks they face. We will begin work on a mobile app version of DSL in early 2022”DSL team member
The DigiSec Lab self-taught modules
- Understanding the internet
- Digital account security
- Digital devices and data
- Digital communication
- Free, open-source software
Over 470,000 video views were recorded on Facebook over the Oct-Dec 2021 quarter, a very strong result that shows the interest of Myanmar citizens for digital safety content. Over the coming months, the team managing the DSL outreach pages and website will continue to promote the online course, and begin work on a mobile app version of the course, which will better allow users to access materials in a low or intermittent internet environment.
The module materials with a total of 24 videos were influenced by the SecDev Foundation’s “CyberStar” digital safety training materials, with the assessment questions also drawing from the experience of CyberStar training teams. As of end-December 2021, public reception to the DSL course has been very positive and encouraging. A total of 1,948 have registered accounts on http://www.digiseclab.org, and 238 have fully completed and passed the course.