July 25, 2004


According to the Reporters sans Frontiers more journalists were physically attacked or threatened with death in Bangladesh than in any other country in 2003. Their report "internet under surveillance 2004", it claims that the internet in Bangladesh suffered the same fate as other medias. The intelligence services intercept e-mail as routinely as they tap phones.

The report also tells of a disturbing amendment proposed by the government to:

...give the authorities access to personal customer data held by ISPs and allow data currently obtained illegally through e-mail interception to be used as court evidence...

The experts fear that this amendment, if enacted could:

* be used as a weapon to blackmail people.

* help the intelligence agencies will turn the country into a police state.

A home affairs ministry spokesman said: "people's right to live free of fear, crime and terrorism is more important than minor infractions of civil liberties."

When less than 1% of the nation is using emails and other e-communication tools, they will remain as a minority group and their voices won't be heard strong enough to stop the government from interfering with their privacy and policing the net through filtering.

To be really concerned, general internet users of Bangladesh should understand: "On a fileterd internet, things are not what they seem."


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