Bangladeshi Cops Accused of Leaking Citizen Personal Data to Criminals on Telegram

By Lore Apostol / June 10, 2024

Two senior police officials in Bangladesh allegedly collected and sold sensitive personal information of citizens like national identity details of citizens, cell phone call records, and other “classified secret information” to criminals via Telegram channels, as per an official’s letter. 

Brigadier General Mohammad Baker, the director of Bangladesh’s National Telecommunications Monitoring Center (NTMC), confirmed to TechCrunch that a letter he signed and that the publication saw is legitimate.

Originally written in Bengali and addressed to the senior secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs Public Security Division, it accused a police superintendent serving with the Anti-Terrorism Unit (ATU) and an assistant police superintendent deputy at the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB 6).

The NTMC is a government intelligence agency under Bangladesh’s Ministry of Home Affairs that surveys and intercepts all telecom traffic, including via phone and Internet, to detect and prevent threats to national security. The agency runs an internal government Web portal called the National Intelligence Platform (NIP), which contains classified citizen information that law enforcement and intelligence agencies use. 

These two agents used the NIP platform more frequently than others and “accessed and collected information that was not relevant to them,” as per an NTMC investigation that analyzed logs of the NTMC’s systems, and they “sent the information to the administrator of at least one Telegram group, who then attempted to sell it.“ Baker mentioned the investigation is ongoing, and the Bangladeshi Ministry of Home Affairs ordered the affected police organizations to take “necessary action against those officers.” 

RAB 6 is a controversial paramilitary unit sanctioned by the U.S. government in 2021 over alleged links to hundreds of disappearances and extrajudicial killings.

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