Telenor, Myanmar | The Telenor rug has been pounded with cash:

Telenor, Myanmar |  The Telenor rug has been pounded with cash:

Trond Blendheim, associate professor and reputation expert at Christiania University College, is unkind when expressing his opinion on the sale of the Telenor subsidiary in Myanmar. He told Nettavisen on Wednesday that Norway and Telenor were “reputable weak”, if the junta had seized and misused Telenor Myanmar user data to go after opposition figures in Myanmar.

He also accuses Blindheim Telenor of having a “different ethical code than most” and further suggests that the company appears to have “lost its ethical vision”.

The reporter describes the sale as “raw and uncivilized”.

Read also: The Minister was questioned about the sale of Telenor. Experts believe sales are “raw and uncivilized”

What does Telenor think of the allegations from Blindheim?

We understand that many are concerned about this sale, and we share our concerns about the exceptional situation in Myanmar. The military has seized power and there are war conditions in the country, Telenor Group Director of Communications, Gry Rohde Nordhus, wrote in an email to Nettavisen.

– No telecommunications company in the country, regardless of its owner, can over time maintain international standards under these conditions. This is dangerous for all Myanmar mobile customers, Nordhaus says, and the responsibility for this lies with the authorities.

Criticism comes from all directions

Telenor is undoubtedly in bad weather during the day, and has received criticism from all sides. In short, many critical voices fear that sensitive Telenor user data about 18 million customers in Myanmar will end up in the junta once the sale is complete, and then be misused to go after the country’s opposition.

  • International law expert Han Sophie Griff says: Myanmar media that Telenor may risk contributing to crimes against humanity.
  • Proposes former Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik (KrF) current aid That Telenor should reconsider the sale. At the same time, it is believed that the Norwegian authorities, as the majority owner, are also responsible for the consequences of the sale.
  • Representatives of Parliament, Taig Petersen (H) and Ola Elvestuen (V), were also heavily involved in the case, putting Trade and Industry Minister Jan Christian Vestre (Labour) on the wall under the Parliament Presidency. Question time this week.
  • Human Rights Watch previously reported to Online newspaper Parliament should initiate an investigation into the entire sales process.
  • In addition, it has more than 400 civil law organizations in Myanmar complained Telenor to the OECD contact point in Norway.
  • A former Telenor Myanmar client, who sought cover from the military junta, did so complained Telenor files to the Norwegian Data Protection Authority for a breach of the EU Privacy Regulation (GDPR).
  • What local staff at Telenor Myanmar claimed, has Sent email To the entire Telenor management in Norway with a clear request to stop the sale immediately.
  • ForUM (Forum for Development and Environment) has Reported to the police Telenor CEO Sigve Brekke and Chairman Gunn Wærsted. The umbrella organization refers to Chapter 16 of the Criminal Code on genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.
  • The Telenor Myanmar sale received wide coverage in the international press, and was covered by major media outlets such as the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters and The Washington Post.
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There is no solution without negative consequences

Telenor insists on previous statements that sales are the least harmful solution, and that there is no solution without negative consequences.

For Telenor, the military coup has put us in a situation where we have no choice but to leave the country. After thorough evaluations, we came to the conclusion that the safest way to do this is to sell the company. There is currently no solution without negative consequences. Some players said they realize we have to leave the country, but have asked us to shut down the process and delete the data. We can’t do this without putting our employees at significant risk — it could have unacceptable consequences if we don’t respond to direct orders or local law, Nordhaus says.

Telenor further notes that the company is required by law to store user data, even in the event of a possible return to the license agreement granted to it in 2014.

The country’s military government, with its state of emergency, extensive use of martial law and legal uncertainty, means that we as a business owner cannot take risks when it comes to the safety of employees in Telenor Myanmar. In the event of sale and re-licensing, the data must still be stored in accordance with local legislation and license terms. This means there are also no good alternatives on sale, Nordhaus says.

We are in a very difficult situation where we have to consider sanctions, human rights, the safety of our employees and much more. In this case, we came to the conclusion that selling is the solution that is least harmful to customers, employees, and the surrounding community, she says.

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Read also: Conservative politicians fear Norway’s reputation
Read also: Sumo threatens Telenor at the International Criminal Court
Read also: The M1 group takes the magazine by mouth and responds to criticism
Read also: Local Telenor employees are pleading with the Telenor Board to stop the sale

Waiting for the authorities’ approval

The Myanmar subsidiary Telenor was established in 2014. Telenor chose to sell in Myanmar last summer – just six months after the country’s military coup – for NOK 900 million for investment firm M1 Group.

The sale will not be formalized until it is approved by the Myanmar authorities, which according to unconfirmed reports are imminent.

According to unconfirmed reports, Shwe Byain Phyu, which allegedly has ties to the junta, will become part-owner of Telenor Myanmar when the sale to M1 Group is completed.

Is that correct? If not, can Telenor guarantee that Telenor Myanmar’s subsidiary will not wind up with Shwe Byain Phyu soon after regulatory approval?

– Last summer, we announced an agreement with M1 Group regarding the sale of Telenor Myanmar, and we are still waiting for the response and final approval from the Myanmar authorities for its sale to this company. Nordhaus answers that the sales agreement between Telenor Group and M1 Group does not regulate how M1 Group will manage the company when it becomes the new owner.

Read also: Telenor Complaint to Data Inspectoration: – Family Safety Concerns

Pfister: We can’t prevent that from happening

Trade and Industry Minister Jan Christian Vestri admitted during the time of inquiry on Wednesday that the Norwegian state, as the largest owner of Telenor, could not prevent sensitive user data from Telenor Myanmar from falling into the hands of Myanmar’s military junta.

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– Pfister said the company (Telenor editor’s note) tells us they have to consider choosing between alternatives that could have serious consequences.

One of Norway’s leading experts in international law reacts strongly to Pfister’s answer given during normal question time.

All Telenor alternatives have consequences, but only sales that put customer data in the hands of the junta is a disaster that neither Telenor nor Norway can contribute to or be aware of. Attorney Hanne Sophie Greve told Nettavisen that it was strange that neither Telenor nor the government were taking this point seriously.

Read also: Strong accusations against Telenor in Myanmar: – Share sensitive user data with the military regime for a year

– Thrown under the bus

The Forum for Development and Environment also reacts strongly to the answer of the Minister of Trade and Industry at the time of the question.

– The Minister of Commerce and Industry said that selling Telenor Myanmar is the least unfavorable solution, and that it is up to the board of directors of each company to evaluate each disposition and situation. It’s incomprehensible to us that throwing 18 million people under a bus can actually be the least harmful solution,” Forum Development and Environment advisor Diego Alexandre Vos says in a statement to Nettavisen.

Hanisi Anenih

Hanisi Anenih

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