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Bangladesh to Set Up Agency for Phone Monitoring
Source: gulf-times.com
Source Date: Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Focus: Journals, Internet Governance
Country: Bangladesh
Created: Jul 12, 2011

In its fight against terror, the Bangladesh government has approved a proposal to set up a phone monitoring centre to track down criminals.

The secretaries’ committee on administrative improvement has approved setting up of a National Telecommunication Monitoring Centre (NTMC), officials said yesterday.

It would have powers to track land phone and mobile calls of persons with criminal records.

Cabinet secretary M Abdul Aziz chaired the meeting.

The NTMC will have 45 officials in 27 categories. An official of the rank of joint secretary will be the director of the proposed NTMC, while officials holding the rank of deputy secretary will be appointed additional directors of the eavesdropper agency.

A central office of the NTMC will also be set up soon.

Officials said the NTMC would include representatives from different intelligence agencies, such as the Directorate General of the Forces Intelligence (DGFI), Special Security Force (SSF), National Security Intelligence (NSI), Special Branch (SB) of police and elite security outfit Rapid Action Battalion (RAB).

Home ministry officials said the NTMC would ensure the security of the president and the prime minister.

It would also help prevent illegal toll collection and cyber crimes and maintain law and order by monitoring telecommunication interception lawfully under the Bangladesh Telecommunications (Amended) Act.

The officials, however, said the NTMC would not be allowed in principle to track calls made by 10 categories of people, including the president, prime minister, speaker of the bangladesh parliament, chief justice, cabinet members, principal secretary, cabinet secretary, chiefs of the three services, secretary-level officials in the civil and defence administrations, inspector general of police, head of the NTMC user organisations and people selected by the head of the government.

State Minister for Home Affairs Shamsul Haque Tuku said the NTMC would use modern technologies and equipment to ferret out criminals, especially those who give death threats and collect extortion money using phones.

Sources said the NTMC will have new-generation devices to record more than 50,000 phone calls at a time to identify and locate suspects.

The existing device is capable of recording only 5,000 phone calls.

The proposed agency will be under the home ministry.

“The authorities will set up modern bugging devices to stop telephone and cyber crimes once the existing National Monitoring Centre (NMC) is upgraded to the level of directorate,” an official said.
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