Friday, January 27, 2012

Bangladesh unveils cyber watchdog to check crimes

Campaign: Free Internet
SALEEM SAMAD

BANGLADESH IN the wake of last week use of social media by key conspirators botched Islamic coup, the authority unveiled on Friday a new cyber watchdog.

Bangladesh Computer Security Incident Response Team (BD-CSIPT) began its operation with an objective to secure the country's information and communication traffic.

The abortive coup by Islamic radicals planned to overthrow the democratically elected pro-secular government led by Shiekh Hasina. The conspirators used social medial like Facebook and blogs to ventilate their Islamic agenda with their disgruntled collaborators in the army and used smart phones to stay connected.

Maj. Gen. (retd.) Zia Ahmed, chairman of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission told state-run BSS news agency that the BD-CSIRT is mainly assigned to identify the sites and persons or institutions who will engage in operating harmful activities against the state, society, political and religious beliefs using the mobile phone, website and different social networking sites.

Apart from monitoring and control of cyber-crimes, it will take punitive measures against the offenders, and in some cases it will take action directly.

The cyber watchdog will also ensure the security of value-added services like e-banking, e-ticketing and similar others, which require strong security system.

Ahmed Swapan, a media activist advocating for privacy rights in a mixed reaction, regarding the objectives of the government’s decision. He said that in the name of cyber surveillance, it would be detrimental and if the authority exercise cyber-censorship, unnecessary interference and harassment of the users.

Saleem Samad, an Ashoka Fellow is an award winning investigative journalist based in Bangladesh. He specializes on Islamic terrorism, forced migration, good governance and elective democracy. He has recently returned from exile from Canada after return of democracy. He could be reached at saleemsamad@hotmail.com