Saturday, January 7, 2012

Bangladesh government to collect info of social site users

Following massive growth of internet users as well as increased number of users of various social networking sites, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Linkedln, Google+ etc, Bangladesh government is set to instruct local or overseas offices of the social networking sites to provide detailed information along with photograph of each of the users from Bangladesh. It may be mentioned here that, a university teacher named Ruhul Kabir Khandakar, who is now in Australia for higher studies was convicted to six months in prison by the High Court division of the Bangladesh Supreme Court, as his comments reportedly implied he wanted Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to die. Detail reports. Ruhul Khandakar was found guilty in absentia of contempt of court after he did not return from Australia, where he is studying, in response to a court summons.

Ruhul Khandakar's post in Facebook came on the heels of the death of one of the country's popular film maker Tareq Masud and broadcast personality Mishuk Munier in a tragic road accident in August last year. "Tareq Masud and Mishuk Munier died as a result of government giving license to unqualified drivers. Many die, why does not Sheikh Hasina die," Khandakar's post reportedly read.

Meanwhile, a sensitive intelligence agency in Bangladesh has set up special wing exclusively to monitor comments and other activities in the social networking sites from Bangladesh. It may be mentioned here that, currently the number of users of Facebook from the country exceeds 2.6 million. Comparing these nearest countries by penetration of Facebook users shows that Bangladesh has 0.07% higher FB penetration than Yemen and 0.02% lower FB penetration than Benin.

The largest age group is currently 18 - 24 with total of 1 102 882 users, followed by the users in the age of 25 - 34. There are 76% male users and 24% female users in Bangladesh, compared to 48% and 52% in Bulgaria and 49% and 51% in Denmark.

Seeking anonymity, a source within Bangladeshi intelligence agency told Weekly Blitz that the government is concerned at the increasing trend of anti-government comments and activities within the social networking sites, especially with video uploads by the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party activists as well as activists of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, which in most cases are filled with provocative comments against the ruling Bangladesh Awami League. It said, following the consequences of the anti-establishment activities in the social networking sites particularly in Egypt, Tunisia, Syria and the Arab countries, Bangladesh's ruling party pays special emphasis on putting "certain level of control and accountability" in the social networking sites. "We cannot let these sites be greatly abused by the users in spreading false propaganda against the government", the source said.

The source further indicated that, on receiving details about the accounts holders with the social networking sites, Bangladesh government may suggest on a time-to-time basis to suspend some accounts, making "offensive comments on the government" as well as may continue taking legal actions against those users. It may be mentioned here that, Bangladesh government earlier blocked YouTube and Facebook for containing "anti government" contents.