Govt steps up social media surveillance ahead of polls

Jamal Uddin
Published : 07:30, Nov 08, 2018 | Updated : 10:11, Nov 09, 2018

The Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) has been given the task of monitoring social media.With national elections just months away, the government is scaling up monitoring and surveillance of the Internet with a particular focus on social media.  

On Sunday (Nov 4), a Tk 1.25 billion project received the green light from the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC).

Bangladesh Police’s elite unit, the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) will monitor the project.

According RAB officials familiar with the matter, the social media monitoring plus other projects were approved taking into consideration the needs of the emergency.

Abuse of the social media is a constant threat and the law enforcers will work to filter, block harmful posts and comments online, says sources at the police headquarters.

The online monitoring project will be implemented between November 2018 and April 2019 aiming to identify those who want to mislead and incite the masses by false news.

 “This project is not just for the election time,” RAB Media wing chief Mufti Mahmud Khan told Bangla Tribune.

The other projects approved include construction of the office building for the Centre for The Prevention of Terrorism and International Crime. The public works ministry will implement this by 2022 at an expenditure of Tk 3.54 billion.

Another project has been taken to increase the capacity of the police at a cost of Tk. 6.49 billion.

These projects have been taken to improve facility and response time. The government has also taken another project worth Tk 2.44 billion to increase the capacity of highway police by 2021.

Meanwhile, Tk 9.75 billion was also approved for the construction of nine residential high-rise buildings for police officers. This will be implemented by the Department of Public Works by June 2021.

In addition, residential flats will be constructed for senior police officials at Dhaka’s upscale neighbourhood Gulshan at a cost of Tk 1.18 billion.

Additional Inspector General Sohel Rana, who is based at the headquarters, told Bangla Tribune, “The government has given approval to the project not with the election in mind but to fulfil emergency needs.”