Internet user profiling and surveillance process initiated in Bangladesh

We have got some disturbing news from Bangladesh.

E-Bangladesh reports:

RAB (Rapid Action Battalion) members assisted by BTRC (Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission) officials are conducting house-to-house searches in Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet pinpointing each and every internet user with a fast connection. In an unprecedented move that clearly violates privacy rights and threatens freedom of speech and communication, a special cell comprising RAB and BTRC officials are now collecting user details — name, address, login and usage statistics — from all the ISPs (Internet Service Provider) in order to profile more than 450,000 internet subscribers in the country.

(Photo credit: E-Bangladesh)

In a memo no. BTRC/E&O/ISP-Gen.(302)/2007-1697, issued on September 26 (displayed above) BTRC is asking from 72 ISPs of Bangladesh the followings:

- To provide BTRC with details of bandwidth lease and usage.
– To provide details of “corporate/dedicated/shared” clients: Name, address, IP.
– To provide copies of technical agreements with connectivity providers.
– To reveal individual client MRTG URL (which monitors internet usage) with user id and passwords.
– Full subscription forms of users.
– ISPS must have complete information regarding the exact location of the client (No mention of what will happen with the scratch card dialup users with internet based simple registration).

Failure to comply with BTRC demands within 15 days of the letter date may result in closure of the ISP, the memo warned.

A System Administrator of one of the ISPs told E-Bangladesh:

If this continues then using internet in Bangladesh will become a crime sometime soon. We have to shut down our business. These people [RAB] enter our server rooms without permission and ask stupid questions and misbehaved. I was informed by my sources inside BTRC that these house-to-house searches will intensify from next Thursday. If they go to people’s houses like this they will stop using internet out of fear. If I have to reveal my admin password, user logins and passwords, what kind of service am I going to provide? Where in world they have found this formula?

Its apparently a process of registering the users through the ISPs. The authorities are collecting these sensitive info under duress from ISPs. Every users internet usage then can be monitored and they will be within reach because they have to provide address.

It is clearly a huge blow against human rights. So under whose authority BTRC is doing this is a question, which every Bangladeshi should be asking. A commenter in E-Bangladesh reveals:

This current action is primarily carried out under the purview of an amendment [of 2006] to BTRC Act, 2001 which basically gives blanket wiretapping/monitoring powers to law enforcing agencies. BTRC Act 2001: Amendment 97: a, b, c.

Although this amendment contradicts one of BTRC’s prime directives: “To ensure protection of the privacy of telecommunication.” (BTRC Act, 2001. Para 30(1)(f))

And I’m not sure searching individual private citizens’ residences are permitted even under the amended rules! And there may be doubts on the constitutionality of the entire 2006 amendment.

BBC Bangla Service picked up this story in its daily Parikrama of its evening show on October 4, 2007.


Headline: Authorities in Bangladesh have taken measures to strengthen control on internet services provided.

Bangladesh Telecommunication regulatory commission (BTRC) has taken some measures to monitor the Internet usage after a meeting with the Internet Service Provider (ISP) Association of Bangladesh. BTRC has also decided to create a database of the internet users of Bangladesh.

The ISP association's general secretary Russel T Mahmood tells BBC Bangla: “The most important thing is security. You know that people are threatening with emails, using email for various things. If these are not controlled from a central point you cannot trace them. The whole thing is to establish a control mechanism. We ISPs have corporate clients as well as individual clients. They have sought the details of these clients from us. How much bandwidth they uses, what are their IPs, what are their usage patterns these are basically the requirement from us. What we can fathom is that this is to monitor and prevent people from doing anything outside the legal boundary with bandwidth purchased from ISPs.”



  • […] Internet user profiling and surveillance process initiated in …RAB (Rapid Action Battalion) members assisted by BTRC (Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission) officials are conducting house-to-house searches in Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet pinpointing each and every internet user with a … […]

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  • It’s a shame what happened to Bangladesh. I hope the world steps up and helps them.

  • […] gateways” (read “control”, “surveillance”, “monitor”; see here and here) are also under way. You have televised the event all over the world to ensure that the […]

  • Taufiq

    wat the … nothing like that happened in BD as far as i know and i live here in BD. wat kind of…. is this. India propaganda i would have to say

  • hello,
    web profiling, and global name based associations have totally
    ruined my life.

    I am a person of the USA, in the USA there are profound
    laws that prevent forced servility, the laws are based
    on the USA Constitution, which are the highest form of law
    in the USA.

    Web profiling forces all forms of communication to associate
    with whomever and whatever the profiling agent demands.

    For example, as I am a person of the USA i have the right
    to not be in a religion, which I am not.

    Though foreign nationalistic based religions operating beyond
    the highest laws of the USA, not legally, often impose
    on the people of the USA forced associations with the foreign nations associated with those religions. They also
    often reach beyond their legal and legitimate membership to predatorize on others of the USA for slaves.


    Further when profiled and the entire USA opportunity structure of even one Person of the USA is accessed it
    is then bartered traded and sold to whom ever wants that
    person’s economic rights, all at the level of high crimes
    that have killed greater amounts of people on earth than
    even the great World Wars.

    They misrepresent others and force their associations and then
    steal all forms of communication.

    Profiling on the web transfers to telecommunications at every level disrupting all forms of communication.

    Essentially putting everyone on earth back into the dark ages forcing everyone that is targeted to be enslaved to whatever gang or group chooses to be invasive on the internet, and having to have all communications channeled
    and funneled to only those that the results of the
    profiling agent demands.

    If they think you are this or that they steal all communications that are not this or that and target
    with whatever they find expendable in all that they control
    to whatever their peer to peer concept of dictating to
    life everywhere.

    I can not help the types of problems that are occuring internationally in the arena of profiling.

    In the USA racial profiling was an issue, and often still is, based on a person’s race their opportunities were limited, and their communications narrowed to only that which were deemed acceptable for that particular racial characteristic. It killed the opportunities of millions of
    people, and people who copied those people of the USA did the same things to the ethnic populations in their nation.

    The problem of internet forced associations is a Global issue, and the activity regarding it is transmuted, or
    changed for different arenas of social abuse, not just the internet and not just telecom redirects.

    THEY ARE DEADLY PRACTICES and should be stopped.

  • surveillance process is now using all over the world. It is best option for home and office security

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