Secure national database at EC

Update:

A female Rohingya was caught red-handed when she went to the Chattogram district election commission office on 18 August to pick up a National Identity (NID) in her name. This incident revealed the corruption in the delivery of NID and the fragile security of the computer system at the election commission. This is a matter of great concern.

Rohingyas were forced to flee Myanmar and take shelter in Bangladesh. The situation has not improved and so they cannot return to their country of origin. Under the circumstances, it is not shocking that some Rohingyas try to get Bangladesh NID in their own names. A corrupt gang at the EC is active in providing this NID. After the arrest of Rohingya woman, investigations found more corrupt practices at the commission.

Police arrested Zainal Abedin, an office assistant at the local election commission office in Chattogram on Sunday night last. A laptop, which had gone missing from the election commission in 2015, was recovered from him.

He used the laptop to make fake NID cards for a long time. He earned huge amounts of illegal money through this and he is building a five-storey building in his village. He has neither a high salary nor inherited property to build such a big building. His father worked in a fishing boat.

Zainal Abedin is not alone. A gang is providing fake NIDs in exchange of money. According to the police, some members of this gang worked at the head office of the election commission. Fake NIDs were provided for Tk 50,000 to Tk 60,000 each, said Mohammad Mohsin, officer-in-charge of Kotwali police station in Chattogram.

Local people alleged Zainal and his brother, who is not a member of EC, managed NIDs and passports for Rohingyas and sent them abroad. Police found more information about providing NIDs on Zainal’s cell phone. During interrogation, he confessed this to the police.

Some 51 fake NIDs have been found on some laptops which went missing. It is primarily perceived that these NIDs were made for Rohingyas.

It is a matter of concern that five laptops went missing from several election commission offices. Data entry for making NID was run on these laptops. The commission remained silent about this. The computer system of the commission was not disconnected from these laptops even after they went missing. It proves the cyber security of the commission’s computer system is unbelievably fragile.

The NID database is related to national security. The election commission has to shoulder the responsibility of failing to ensure this security. It is urgent to bring those who are responsible to book after investigation. The cyber security of the election commission has to be ensured.

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