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“All Citizens are Equal before Law and are Entitled to Equal Protection of Law”-Article 27 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

Issue No: 43
November 10 , 2007

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Enact Law To Combat Cyber Crime

Bangladesh Police to set up cyber crime unit

In today's world information system and network security has become a rights issue for the reason that right to information has become more and more important to everyone as information protects and develops human life everyday. Understanding the essential need of security all developed countries have taken steps to address the problem on the other hand developing countries are far away from being able to guarantee this rights. Threats to the Information Society were emerging on the content level as well as on the network level and on the physical level. Information security could however not be achieved by technology alone. In order to respond to network threats and create a secure information society, both comprehensive prevention measures and enforcement measures are necessary.

In Bangladesh the Internet user is increasing rapidly. Bangladesh police recently has taken plan to set up a special unit to curb cyber crimes. The matter has become more urgent since an e-mail message was sent to Bengali daily Prothom Alo, issuing a life threat to Awami League president and Leader of Opposition Sheikh Hasina on August 23 2004. Another mail was sent to the police headquarters Aug 25, threatening Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, her son Tarique Rahman and Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) lawmakers. The police department took the mails seriously and decided to set up a cyber crime control unit, which will be the country's first policing unit against cyber crime. Two young men, a private university student and a software engineer, were arrested in connection with the e-mail threatening the prime minister and another youth for threatening Hasina. The first two have reportedly said that they had sent the mail for fun. As there is no nationwide computer infrastructure, no watchdog or security system has yet been developed in Bangladesh

As the threat of cybercrime is looming in the country with the rapid increase in the use of Internet and modern technologies, speakers at a regional seminar yesterday stressed the need to enact an Internet crime law to combat such offences. They also called for global cooperation to fight cybercrime as it is not bounded by borders. They suggested formulating a law against Internet crimes as soon as possible and providing proper training to law enforcers to fight such crimes. The Bangladesh Police in association with the Australian Federal Police organised the three-day seminar on cybercrime that began at Dhaka Sheraton Hotel yesterday with an aim to share experiences and foster cooperation in combating cybercrime.

Experts from Australia, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Nepal and the host country are taking part in the seminar.

Inaugurating the seminar, LGRD Adviser Anwarul Iqbal said the cybercrime is not bounded by borders as criminals take advantage of the technology available in the market in this modern day and age. "As a transnational crime, cybercrime is a global issue with a global impact." It is necessary for the developing countries to combat cybercrime, although the cost of fighting such crimes is a burden on them, he added. Home Secretary Abdul Karim said cyber security is need of the hour.

Mentioning various types of cybercrime such as computer hacking, credit card forgery and child pornography, he said it is tough for law enforcers to tackle such crimes. He also stressed the need for cooperation among countries in this regard. "As of today our capability to fight cybercrime is inadequate," the home secretary said, adding that Bangladesh is trying to formulate a cybercrime law and a draft law is already in the hand.

Australian High Commissioner Douglas Foskett said cybercrime has become an issue of concern all over the world. As Bangladesh is witnessing a rapid growth in the use of Internet, it needs to prepare to face the threat, he said, adding that Australian Hi-Tech Crime Centre is offering assistance to different countries in this regard.

Additional Inspector General & National Project Director of the Police Reform Programme (PRP) NBK Tripura said cyber and technology-related crime is on the rise. "We are now enhancing our capacity to combat cybercrime." Quoting the Internet Law News, the speakers said cybercrime has grown to be larger than illicit drug sales worldwide and the analysts estimate that online fraud will bring in US$105 billion in 2007 alone. It is further estimated that the cost of data loss due to malicious activity will reach US$ 40 billion worldwide.

Deputy Country Director of UNDP Bangladesh Larry Maramis and Programme Manager of PRP Hubert Staberhofer also spoke at the inaugural ceremony.

Compiled by Law Desk


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