During a half century of military rule, Myanmar’s totalitarian tools were crude but effective. Men in sarongs shadowed democracy activists, neighbors informed on each other and thugs brandished lead pipes.
The generals, who staged a coup a month ago, are now back in charge with a far more sophisticated arsenal at their disposal: Israeli-made surveillance drones, European iPhone cracking devices and American software that can hack into computers and vacuum up their contents.
Some of this technology, including satellite and telecommunications upgrades, helped people in Myanmar go online and integrate with the world after decades of isolation. Other systems, such as spyware, were sold as integral to modernizing law enforcement agencies.