Bangladesh government to arm phone-tapping agency with new tools, staffing

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal has said a project has been undertaken to strengthen the capacity of the National Telecommunication Monitoring Centre to intercept the criminal activities on the internet.

Parliament Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 28 June 2017, 02:22 PM
Updated : 28 June 2017, 02:22 PM

The NTMC is responsible for eavesdropping on telephone and internet surveillance.

“Modern equipment and skilled manpower are needed to face the menace of criminal activities on the web,” Kamal told the parliament in response to a question from a ruling Awami League member Bazlul Huq Harun on Wednesday.

“By modernising the monitoring centre, we would be able to gather more information about the militants. And the law enforcers would be able to combat the militants more efficiently using that information,” he said.

Article 43 of the Constitution gives the citizen the right to privacy and securing personal information. The Right to Information Act also acknowledges that as well. But, for the sake of national security, the government agency is given power to eavesdrop on persons of interest.

Although the law authorises the home ministry for internet surveillance or phone bugging, the work is done through the DGFI or Directorate General of Forces Intelligence, the military’s spy agency that works under the defence ministry.

The NTMC started its journey in 2013 with 44 staff members.

DGFI Deputy Director General Brigadier General Ziaul Ahsan was appointed head of the NTMC in March.

In reply to another question from MP Golam Rabbani, Home Minister Kamal said, “To combat online activities of the militants, surveillance on the internet will be increased.”

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