An apparently fake message went viral yesterday on social media, claiming phone calls, WhatsApp messages, and other media messaging would be recorded by law enforcers from Thursday as part of the government effort to fight coronavirus.
The message has attracted the attention of a lot of people and many have shared it on their Facebook timelines.
The most alarming matter is the message mentioned Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) as its source.
Lt Col Sarwar Bin Kashem, RAB's Legal and Media Wing director, said the message is fake.
"RAB is a law enforcement agency. We cannot publicise such an unwanted message. A vested group has created the message and spread it," he told The Business Standard.
Sarwar said they have taken it seriously and already arrested one person for spreading the fake message.
"A group of people spread this kind of messages to attract public reaction, but end up creating panic instead," said Chatak Chakma, an assistant superintendent of the Cyber Police Centre of the Criminal Investigation Department.
"We deal with this kind of situations very strictly," he added.
Quader Helal, a resident of Mirpur, has shared the message on his Facebook page but he did not know that it was fake.
"When I saw a law enforcement agency was the authority of the message, I shared it without any doubt," he said.
Tanvir Khan Zoha, an ICT specialist and cybersecurity expert, told The Business Standard that no law enforcement agency can record phone calls or conversations of all citizens.
"They can only do it when it is urgent and very specific about a person, or to tackle any unwanted situation in the interest of the state," he added.
Dhurba Jotiermoya Gope, an assistant commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police's (DMP) Cyber Security and Crime Division, said they have been aware of the rumours regarding coronavirus.
"We have already marked these rumours and alerted citizens through social media. And we are trying to arrest the culprits who spread such messages," he added.
Another rumour claiming Islamic State militants will go to people's doorsteps to collect blood samples in the name of coronavirus tests, has been spread on social media. This message was spread in the name of the DMP.
Dhruba also dispelled it as a rumour.
He mentioned some steps they are following to tackle rumours during the coronavirus pandemic.
Police first collect a viral information, verify it, spread the actual information, try to find out the root of the information and then finally launch drives to arrest the culprits and people who are out to take advantage of such rumours.