[Bangladesh] AIC Submits Comments on the Digital Security Agency Rules, 2020 and Information Privacy and Security Rules, 2019 (July 2020)

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The Asia Internet Coalition (“AIC”) has submitted comments to the Government of People’s Republic of Bangladesh (“GoB”) on Digital Security Agency Rules, 2020 (“DSA Rules 2020”) and the draft Information Privacy and Security Rules, 2019 (“Privacy Rules”). AIC welcomes the Information and Communication Technology Division (“ICT Division”), for its efforts in undertaking various initiatives to bolster the legal and regulatory regime on digital security and data privacy in Bangladesh and to address the present day concerns and challenges with respect to burgeoning technological developments and the needs of the ICT market in Bangladesh. We commend GoB’s commitment to the objectives of Digital Bangladesh, including safeguarding the fundamental rights under Article 43 of the Constitution of Bangladesh, and implementing its obligations under various international treaties and conventions, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. These efforts in strengthening the legal and regulatory framework are timely and necessary, driven largely by the visionary policies and initiatives adopted and implemented by the GoB, at a time when Internet penetration in Bangladesh has reached 41% in January 2020 (the number of internet users in Bangladesh increased by 5.8 million (+9.5%) between 2019 and 2020, exceeding 100 million for the first time to reach 103.253 million users. In response to these policies and unprecedented increase in the internet penetration, Bangladesh IT and IT-enabled service (ITES) sector will be the main partner of the government in materialising the vision of Digital Bangladesh. In Bangladesh, more than 120 companies export information and communications technology (ICT) products worth nearly US$1 billion to 35 countries. By 2021, it’s expected that this will increase to US$5 billion. Indeed, the growing strength of the ICT Industry underpins the vital pillars that will support Bangladesh’s transformation to a digital economy by 2021, and a knowledge economy by 2041. While we support these efforts, there are some serious concerns about the DSA Rules 2020 and the draft Privacy Rules that we would like to express.