The organisations like Facebook and YouTube should set up offices in Bangladesh and do their business in accordance with the country’s law
State Minister for Information and Communication Technology Junaid Ahmed Palak has said Facebook, Google and YouTube have to set up their offices in Bangladesh so the information of the country's citizens do not fall into the hands of foreign companies.
The government will feel compelled to protect information of its citizens under the Data Protection and Localisation Act, if necessary, said Palak.
The junior minister was speaking as the chief guest at the closing ceremony of an award-giving event titled "Know the Truth" an awareness campaign, organised by the Digital Security Agency (DSA) in association with Computer Council (BCC) in Bangladesh on Thursday.
"The giant social media platforms have earned thousands of crores from Bangladesh through their advertisements but have not paid VAT to the government. That is why we have sought help from the NBR," according to the minister.
The ICT minister urged the organisations like Facebook and YouTube to set up their offices in Bangladesh and do their business in accordance with the country's law.
The ICT Department has taken up the project titled 'Amar Sarkar' for open data analysis to select the contents to be displayed in the context of the country.
Under the project, which is in pilot phase, an agreement has been reached with Twitter to curb rumor and provocations. Negotiations with Facebook and YouTube are also in progress.
Despite repeated requests, the social media are not listening, he said, adding that contents that are not religiously, politically, socially and legally useful for Bangladesh should be eliminated.
Sometimes, it goes viral before any initiative is taken, the ICT minister said, asking the authorities concerned to take immediate action in this regard.
He said Facebook has selected Dhaka as the second active user with the special campaign "Know the Truth".
"We have about 11 crore internet users. One of the vested interests is trying to abuse it. We have taken steps to prevent it."
The National Cyber Security Council is being formed under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to ensure security at national level.
"We hope that this strategy will be formulated if the situation is a little normal."
A platform called 'Asar' has already been set up for the virtual meeting, the state minister said, adding that work is under way to popularise a local social media and the search engine called Ant.
The government has been working tirelessly for the past 11 years to ensure that people reap the benefits of digitalisation.
Speaking as a special guest on the occasion, NM Zeaul Alam, senior secretary, Department of ICT, proposed to create an ethical standard for the cyber world to boost awareness throughout the country.
Parthapratim Deb, executive director, Bangladesh Computer Council, said besides building a technology-dependent Bangladesh, the next generation must grow up as tolerant human beings.
He hopes that the movement will continue even after the end of the campaign.
War against 'Misinformation and Disinformation' online has been declared to build a rumor-free Bangladesh, said Md Rezaul Karim, director general of Digital Security Agency (DSA).
Netizens participated in the poster design, essay writing and video-making competitions during the "Know the Truth" campaign.
In this contest, Amran Ahmed became the champion in the poster design category while Md Sajid Iqbal in the essay writing competition and Rahim Saikat in the video-making competition.
It is to be mentioned that the DSA and LICT project of Bangladesh Computer Council jointly started the campaign on 8 September that continued till 31 October.
The message of the awareness campaign has reached some 50 lakh people which was also joined by 12 lakh Facebook users.