Microsoft, Google agreed to work with government against ‘inappropriate content’ on Internet: Halim

Microsoft and Google have agreed to work with the Bangladesh government over inappropriate contents on the Internet, State Minister for Telecoms Tarana Halim told Parliament.

Published : 12 June 2016, 07:34 AM
Updated : 12 June 2016, 08:36 AM

Speaking at a question-and-answer session on Sunday, she said that not only social media giant Facebook, but the two internet behemoths, too, have also agreed to respond to the government’s request within two days.

“After intense discussion with Facebook, Google and Microsoft, it has been agreed that they will respond to requests with 48 hours,” Halim said replying a query by independent MP Rustam Ali Farazi.  

Last year, the Bangladesh government suspended the use of Facebook, its messenger app, and some other communication apps for 22 days, citing security reasons following the murder of two foreign nationals and the attack on a police check post.

Before the 22-day ban, the government had blocked some popular calling and messaging services such as WhatsApp and Viber for several days during a three-month agitation by the BNP-led alliance early last year.

Police had said then they were having trouble tracking down saboteurs, as they were using these apps to communicate.

In November last year, Halim had written to the Facebook authorities, conveying her wish to discuss with them a gamut of issues related to the social network site and its messenger app.

The minister subsequently held a meeting at the social media company’s Asia Pacific headquarters in Singapore, after which she told the media about Facebook’s promise to cooperate.

Facebook’s half-yearly ‘Government Request Report’ in April this year showed that it had, for the first time, responded to requests from the Bangladesh government.

Between July and December last year, the government had sought information on 31 Facebook users. The report said that it had responded to 16.67 percent of the requests.

But between January 2013 and June 2015, government’s request on 37 users had failed to evoke any response from the social media site.

Replying to another query, Minister Tarana Halim said on Sunday that Google, too, had agreed to remove videos from its Youtube arm following requests from the government.

On a query concerning the Bangabandhu-1 Satellite, she said it would accommodate 40 transponders.

Twenty of them will be reserved for Bangladesh and the rest rented out to entities in other countries, added Halim.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher