Published on 12:00 AM, August 03, 2015

Bangladesh to purchase modern surveillance equipment

Tk 200cr proposal to intensify watch on phone calls, social network activities

The government has decided to purchase modern equipment worth more than Tk 200 crore to step up mobile phone, email and social network surveillance.

The home ministry has recently sent a proposal to the cabinet committee on economic affairs, seeking relaxation of Public Procurement Regulations (PPR) for direct purchase of the equipment, ministry officials said.

More modern equipment is required to assume more control over obstructing or recording users' telephonic or online communications so that intelligence activities could be conducted more smoothly, they informed.

According to the proposal, the National Telecommunication Monitoring Centre (NTMC), which has been working under the home ministry since February 2014, conducts Lawful Interception (LI) to help intelligence and law enforcement agencies ensure state security.

LI means obtaining communications network data in line with lawful authority for the purpose of analysis or acquiring evidence. Such data generally consist of signalling or network management information or, in fewer instances, the content of the communications.

The proposal mentions that various LI equipment will be purchased from seven international firms.

It says the present NTMC monitoring system is old and lacks the capacity to control the modern information technology.

In this context, the home ministry will purchase equipment from the US firms Verint Systems and SS8, the German firms Trovicor and UTIMACO, the Italian firm RCS, the Chinese firm Inovatio and the Swiss firm New Saft.

According to the websites of the companies, their equipment and solutions help law enforcers anticipate crime and decide on actions to be taken and help them prosecute criminals. They would help analyse data traffic and sniff calls, emails, YouTube videos and even identify potential threats.