Bangladesh purchasing more tools for surveillance

DHAKA (The Daily Star/ANN) - Govt aims to step up mobile, email, social network monitoring

The government will purchase modern equipment for the National
Telecommunication Monitoring Centre (NTMC) to step up mobile phone,
email and social network surveillance.

The cabinet committee on purchase chaired by Industries Minister Amir
Hossain Amu yesterday approved the home ministry proposal that would
cost Tk 236 crore.

More modern equipment is required to assume more control over
obstructing or recording users' telephonic or online communications so
that intelligence activities could be conducted more smoothly, said a
home ministry official.

According to the proposal, the NTMC, which has been working under the
home ministry since February 2014, conducts Lawful Interception (LI) to
help intelligence and law enforcement agencies ensure state security.

LI means obtaining communications network data in line with lawful
authority for the purpose of analysis or acquiring evidence. Such data
generally consists of signalling or network management information or,
in fewer instances, the content of the communications.

The official said various LI equipment would be bought from
international firms. It also says the present NTMC monitoring system is
old and lacks the capacity to control the modern information technology.

In this context, the home ministry official said they would purchase
the equipment from different foreign firms, which are expert in
manufacturing such equipment.

The equipment and solutions would help law enforcers anticipate crime
and decide on actions to be taken and help them prosecute criminals.
The companies would help analyse data traffic and sniff calls, emails,
YouTube videos and even identify potential threats, the official said.

The home ministry had earlier taken approval from the cabinet
committee on economic affairs for direct purchase of the equipment, the
official added.

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