Speakers stressed to formulate data protection

[29 November 2014] Speakers stressed to formulate data protection law to uphold right to privacy and personal information protection from abuse. A press briefing organized by VOICE, a rights group, was held at the TMSS’s Usha conference room at Bogra yesterday (Saturday).

In the statement, Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, executive director of VOICE said that information is increasingly being made more easily available electronically via the Internet, often without the consent of the individual. He expressed concerns over the increased nature of surveillance in the society that creates fear among citizens and undermines the democratic practices and norms. He emphasized to hold agencies accountable for not being protecting right to privacy of the citizens. Drawing the examples of mobile phone companies, internet service providers and government service agencies for telecommunication, he stressed to formulate data privacy policy to protect citizens’ right to privacy. He also said the citizens shall have the privacy to his correspondence and other means of communication as per Article 43 of the Constitution. Any personal data collected by state agencies and private companies should be preserved by their respective privacy policies. He urged to take necessary action for formulating a data privacy law.

Former MP, Engineer Mostafa Ali Mukul said that there’s a strong need to address companies who are doing business with the personal information and they must have privacy policies so that citizen can take measures in case of violation of their rights. He also mentioned that violation of constitutional right such as privacy rights actually shirks the democratic space in the society and put citizens insecure state, he added.

KGM Faruque, Secretary of PAVE-Bogra told that due to lack of policies and law regarding protecting right to privacy, miscreants would create trouble to the women and children in particular by putting abusive content on them online. He said that violation of the right to privacy is the violation of constitutional right as well. He also urged to government to respect Constitutional obligation.

Referring personal curriculum vitae submitted for job searching, women activist Babita Barman said that due to lack of data protection law, citizens are being harassed on and often while children and women become usual victim in the online space in particular.  She said that personal data cannot be used or disclosed for any purposes without prior consent to the individual. She further stated that law enforcement agencies and private companies should stop online surveillance to protect human rights of citizens. She added saying that the expansion of Information Technology (IT) surveillance and abuse of information by the governments and private bodies have been increased and thereby violate human rights. She also mentioned that freedom of the speech and privacy is being violated due to communication surveillance at large.

Mujibur Rahman, District Senior Information officer, Advocate Bappi, Shokat Ali also spoke on the occasion. They urged government to undertake immediate measure for safeguarding citizens by formulating a data privacy law.