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Bangladeshi police agents accused of selling citizens’ personal information on Telegram
June 7, 2024

Bangladeshi police agents accused of selling citizens’ personal information on Telegram

Reading Time: 2 minutes

‘Departmental investigation is ongoing for both the cases,’ Baker said in an online chat, adding that the Bangladeshi Ministry of Home Affairs ordered the affected police organizations to take ‘necessary action against those officers.’ 

The letter, which was originally written in Bengali and addressed to the senior secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs Public Security Division, alleges the two police agents accessed and passed ‘extremely sensitive information’ of private citizens on Telegram in exchange for money.

The NTMC is a government intelligence agency established under Bangladesh’s Ministry of Home Affairs. The agency’s core task is to monitor all telecommunications traffic and intercept phone and web communications to detect and prevent threats to national security. 

Organizations like Human Rights Watch and Freedom House have criticized the NTMC for lacking safeguards against abuses, both against free speech as well as privacy. Over the years, NTMC procured sophisticated technology from companies in Israel, which Bangladesh does not officially recognize, as well as other Western countries, to conduct mass surveillance largely on opposition party members, journalists, civil society members and activists.  

As part of its mission, the NTMC runs the National Intelligence Platform, or NIP, an internal government web portal that holds classified citizen information, like national identification details, cell phone registration and cell data records, criminal profiles and other information. 

Various law enforcement and intelligence agencies have user accounts on the NIP portal provided by the NTMC. 

NTMC’s own investigation concluded that the agents used the NIP platform more frequently than others, and accessed and collected information that was not relevant to them.

‘Considering the context, such irrelevant access and unlawful handover of extremely sensitive classified data should be investigated to identify everyone involved in this and we also request for appropriate action against all those identified/involved,’ the letter read.  

Baker said that the two agents have been notified of the investigation. 

Because of the investigation, all NIP users from ATU and RAB 6 have had their access suspended ‘until the involved officials are identified, and proper action is taken,’ according to the letter.

Baker confirmed the suspended access, saying that if agents ‘need any information for investigation purposes they can collect through Police and RAB HQ.’

In both cases, the leaks were found by Viktor Markopoulos, a researcher who works at Bitcrack Cyber Security. 

While those were significant cases of data exposure, this incident allegedly involving the ATU and RAB 6 agents is potentially more damaging, given that the agents allegedly sold information online in an attempt to profit from their privileged access to classified personal information.  


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