Legal analysis

Bangladesh: Information Communication Technology Act

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ARTICLE 19

10 May 2016

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Executive summary

In April 2016, ARTICLE 19 analysed the Information and Communication Technology Act, 2006 (ICT Act). The analysis examines the most problematic aspects of both laws from the perspective of international human rights standards, in particular the right to freedom of expression and privacy.

In the analysis, ARTICLE 19 concludes that several provisions of this law are too vague or unnecessarily criminalise legitimate expression. The same is true of provisions granting investigatory powers to the authorities or imposing obligations on service providers for the purposes of assisting the investigation of cybercrimes. Procedural or public interest safeguards are also missing. We therefore recommend that a number of provisions must be either repealed or substantially reviewed to be compatible with international standards in this area.

Key Recommendations:

  • Clauses 46 and 57 of the ICT Act should be repealed in their entirety;
  • Clause 63 which deals with certain violations of privacy should be reviewed and clarified. In particular, a public interest disclosure exemption should be added. Furthermore, the scope of clause 63 should be more clearly limited to public officials.
  • The protection of personal data undergoing automated processing should properly be addressed as part of comprehensive data protection legislation.
 

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