The Asia Internet Coalition (“AIC”) has submitted comments to the Information, Communication and Technology Division on the draft Data Protection Act 2022 (“Draft Act”), Bangladesh. AIC is an industry association comprising leading internet and technology companies in the Asia Pacific region with an objective to promote the understanding and resolution of internet and ICT policy issues.
Data-driven innovation is powering the growth of Bangladesh’s emerging digital economy, creating opportunities for both established companies and new entrants, and giving people access to better products and services. At the same time, it is important that people have confidence that their personal data will be protected. In light of this, we commend the efforts of the Bangladesh government to enhance the protection of data in Bangladesh through the Draft Act.
Such efforts are critical, particularly at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in a great deal of our lives moving online, underscoring the importance of innovation, digital adoption, digital security and privacy. It is more critical than ever to protect personal data particularly when economies and companies are transitioning rapidly into the digital space.
Through our work with regulators in jurisdictions around the world on best practices in legal and policy frameworks for privacy, we have seen that the most successful data-driven regulations balance both the objective of protecting consumers’ personal data with that of ensuring the country benefits from the opportunities created by the wave of data-driven services, technologies and innovation. While we believe that many aspects of the Draft Act go some way towards these dual objectives, we also believe that there are several provisions that require further consideration to bring it in line with international good practices. This is especially important to allow Bangladeshi businesses to participate and flourish in the global economy, as well as to promote international investment in Bangladesh’s digital economy.
We believe that the Draft Act should be developed in a balanced manner, which accounts for diverse social, economic, and innovation-oriented objectives. It should protect the rights of people but also not be drafted in an overbroad manner that could result in roadblocks to innovation and technological advancement in Bangladesh. As such, our comments are aimed at refining the Draft Act to create a framework which aligns more closely with international best practices and allows participants in the Bangladesh economy to flourish on the global stage.