Govt plans tougher cyber surveillance

The government is going to install some modern devices, including a verification system server (VSS), to identify those who commit cyber crimes and spread obscene content and pictures by using subscriber identity module (SIM) and removable user identity module (RUIM) cards as well as through Internet service providers (ISPs). The Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (BTRC) and various intelligence agencies will monitor the devices.
The authorities concerned will also use the devices to verify the SIMs and RUIMs used by 118.932 million subscribers of six mobile operators of the country to detect cyber criminals.
A senior official of the home ministry said that many people, including militants and terror groups, purchase mobile and Internet devices by using fake national identity (NID) cards.
"Terrorists have been reorganising and committing various crimes by using the devices. They are creating facebook accounts, offensive blogs and indecent sites–all of which are harmful to national unity. At present, it is rather difficult for intelligence agencies to track such criminals due to lack of required devices and related expertise in the field,” he added.
He said the home ministry is cooperating with the National Telecommunication Monitoring Centre (NTMC) and the BTRC to detect cyber criminals and brought to them book.
BTRC secretary Sarwar Alam told The Independent that the new devices would be installed by January next year at the NID card server of the Election Commission (EC) at the Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC). “After installing the devices, the authorities concerned will start scrutinising the SIMs, RUIMs and other Internet devices of mobile phone operators as well as the real IP (Internet Protocol) addresses of different public switched telephone networks (PSTNs) and Internet service providers (ISPs) to detect cyber criminals,” he said.
He also said that nobody will be able to buy any SIM and RUIM cards from mobile operators without getting
their photographs, NID cards and fingerprints verified from February next year.
"It won’t be possible for anyone to procure Internet devices from WiMAX, ISPs and PSTN operators without NID verifications from February next year,” he asserted.
Sources said the authorities concerned cannot identify the proxy IP address holders as the international internet gateway (IIG), ISP and international gateways (IGWs) are randomly providing the proxy IP addresses to their clients. They also said that there is no data to the BTRC as to how many proxy IP addresses have so far been provided to Internet users. The home ministry, in a recent meeting, has decided to write a letter to the BTRC, asking it to increase the number of real IP addresses from nine lakh to 10 crore.
Of late, there have been growing demands to inactivate some blogs and Internet sites which have allegedly been fomenting religious unrest by posting derogatory comments on Islam and Prophet Mohammad.
According to home ministry sources, at
least 30 blogs and websites were blocked and some bloggers were arrested for instigating religious unrest. According to BTRC statistics, as of October 2014, there are 118.932 million mobile subscribers in the country. Of them, 50.713 million belong to Grameen Phone Ltd. (GP), 30.498 million to Banglalink Digital Communications Limited, 25.491 million to Robi Axiata Limited (Robi), 7.466 million to Airtel Bangladesh Limited (Airtel), 1.329 million to Pacific Bangladesh Telecom Limited (Citycell) and 3.875 to Teletalk Bangladesh Limited (Teletalk).
There are 44,081,942 Internet subscribers in the country. Of them, 42,589,801 use mobile Internet and 25,872 WiMAX, while the total number of ISP and PSTN subscribers is 123,342. The number of Glossary Link PSTN subscribers reached 109,643 at the end of October this year. Of them, 82,700 belong to BTCL, 25503 to Ranks Telecom Ltd, 545 to BanglaPhone Ltd and 895 to WorldTel.