Replying to a question of Awami League’s lawmaker Shafiul Islam, the minister said, “Advanced technologies such as Open Source Intelligence Technology (OSINT) have been adopted by NTMC (National Telecommunication Monitoring Center) to stop anti-state and government activities through social media monitoring (surveillance) on the internet.  Moreover, initiative has been taken up to launch an integrated lawful interception system.”

Saiful Haque criticized the government initiative to intercept private communication of people saying that the government has been breaching people’s privacy using Israeli technologies for a long time. Now the government wants to bring this interception mechanism under a legal cover.

He said the government wants to make interception legal only to suppress dissent.

Saiful Haque termed the initiative as contradictory to people’s basic democratic rights, privacy and personal safety enshrined by the constitution. 

He said there are some internationally accepted regulations to prevent cybercrime. There are mechanisms to fight any malpractices that threaten the national security without breaching the privacy of the citizens. There are also some laws regarding surveillance. But it is never acceptable to keep any individual under constant watch through arbitrary surveillance breaching those international laws.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz carried a report that Bangladesh bought advanced surveillance equipment, developed by a company controlled by the former commander of Israeli intelligence’s technology unit, in 2022.

Bangladesh does not recognise Israel and the two countries have no diplomatic relations.

Haaretz carried the report quoting official government documents and international export records on Tuesday.