Govt eager to ink deal with Facebook: Tarana

Law enforcers detain three Islami Chhatra Shibir activists for using Facebook via proxy servers and posting anti-government remarks. Photo: Reuters

The government today showed interest in inking a deal with Facebook to ensure cyber security in Bangladesh.

A letter regarding the government’s interest to sign a deal with the Facebook authority in order to attain information about its users, has been sent, confirmed State Minister for Telecom Tarana Halim.

“The deal with Facebook will help the government curb the numbers of cyber crimes in the country and violence against women will come down significantly,” said Tarana.

“As per our plan, I wrote to strike the deal with Facebook,” said the state minister.

The government has taken the initiative as the country became susceptible to cyber attacks, especially through the use of Facebook, ministry sources said.

Facebook showed their interest to sign the deal with Bangladesh government before 2006 on the condition that the networking site will not take responsibility for the users' posts.

The government has blocked Facebook and other online messaging and calling services WhatsApp and Viber since November 18.

But Tarana said there is no relation between opening Facebook and this letter.

Currently there are 1.8 crore Facebook account in the country, and of its most of the users are young.

The telecom minister is hopeful that the government will get a positive feedback from the Facebook authority. If necessary she is also willing to arrange a meeting with them.

Facebook turned down all the requests for user information made by the Bangladesh government in the six months till June this year, says the Global Government Requests Report of Facebook released this month.

Since it introduced the half-yearly report in 2013, Facebook has not provided any data to Bangladesh's government, which had made 16 requests about 37 users by the time.

However, Facebook did not say how many contents had been restricted access from Bangladesh or taken down upon requests by the government. But the social media giant said in the report that globally 20,568 posts and other pieces of content that violated local laws had been removed in the first half of the year.