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Loss of trust: Bangladeshi police sell Citizen data on Telegram

Bangladesh: Senior anti-terror officers accused of selling classified citizen data (IDs, call records) on Telegram. Govt intel agency uncovers data breach, investigation launched.

Bangladesh Telegram

In a concerning development, Bangladesh’s National Telecommunications Monitoring Center (NTMC) has accused two senior anti-terror police officials of selling classified citizen information to criminals on the messaging app Telegram. This raises serious questions about corruption within Bangladesh’s security apparatus and the potential misuse of sensitive data.

Bangladesh: Senior Anti-Terror Officials allegedly sold classified data on Telegram

Bangladesh Telegram

A letter signed by Brigadier General Mohammad Baker, director of the NTMC, details the accusations. The letter, dated April 28th, alleges that the two officers, a police superintendent with the Anti-Terrorism Unit (ATU) and an assistant superintendent with the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB 6), accessed and sold “extremely sensitive information” including national identification details and phone call records.

The NTMC investigation discovered the alleged data leak through analysis of access logs on the National Intelligence Platform (NIP), a government portal containing classified data like citizen ID information and phone records. The letter highlights that the accused officers accessed information irrelevant to their cases, raising concerns about their motives.

The NTMC, established under the Ministry of Home Affairs, is responsible for monitoring telecommunications traffic and intercepting communications to prevent national security threats. However, organizations like Human Rights Watch have criticized the agency’s lack of transparency and safeguards against potential abuse of its extensive surveillance capabilities. The involvement of an officer from RAB 6 is particularly concerning.

This paramilitary unit has faced sanctions from the US government due to allegations of extrajudicial killings and disappearances. While the identities of the accused haven’t been released, Brigadier General Baker confirmed the investigation and stated that the Ministry of Home Affairs has ordered the relevant police organizations to take necessary action.

This case highlights the need for robust oversight and accountability within Bangladesh’s security forces. It remains to be seen whether the investigation will be transparent and hold those responsible accountable.

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