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13 February, 2019 12:50:15 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 13 February, 2019 11:01:00 AM

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Move on to curb ‘harmful contents’

Govt to make it mandatory for users to get SSL protocol in web browsers from July
SHAHED SIDDIQUE, FAISAL MAHMUD, Dhaka
Move on to curb ‘harmful contents’

In an effort to keep the country’s social media space free of ‘harmful materials’, the government will enhance its monitoring over the internet from July this year. An internet user will have to download special software to stay online and also download other materials, as the government would make it mandatory for all users to get SSL protocol in their web browsers.

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a standard security protocol for establishing encrypted links between a web server and a browser in an online communication. The use of SSL technology ensures that all data transmitted between the web server and browser remains encrypted.

Typically, SSL is used to secure credit card transactions, data transfer and logins, and, more recently, it is becoming the norm when securing the browsing of social media sites.

Mostafa Jabbar, the minister for post, telecommunications and information technology, told The Independent that the decision to control the content of social media has been taken at the highest policymaking level. “We will move ahead with the plan within the next six months,” he said.

Jabbar explained that with the massive proliferation of the internet in the country, it is now high time to keep control of online content, especially content on social media. “We have seen during the student-led protests for safer roads how quickly harmful rumours can spread on the social media.”

The minister said parents also remain anxious about harmful content on the internet. “I have heard many complaints from parents that their children could get easy access to harmful internet contents like porn,” said Jabbar.

Jabbar’s ministry recently took some serious steps to ensure a full-fledged crackdown on the porn websites as part of its increasing efforts to protect children from accessing inappropriate content online.

The government has already blocked 244 major porn websites and is planning to block a total of 1500 porn websites. “Porn websites are just a part of our attempt to make the internet free of harmful content,” Jabbar.

An official of the post, telecommunications and information technology ministry told The Independent that one of the main reasons for tightening the grip on social media is to avoid the red tape now the government needs to face

while filing a complaint with social media giants such as Facebook or Twitter.

Sources at the ministry told The Independent that the government has installed deep packet inspection (DPI) technologies in 24 international internet gateway (IIG) service providers to inspect the content of most websites accessed from Bangladesh.

DPI is an advanced method of examining and managing network traffic. It is a form of packet filtering that locates, identifies, classifies, reroutes or blocks packets with specific data or code payloads that conventional packet filtering, which examines only packet headers, cannot detect.

With DPI technology installed, the telecom regulator—the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC)—can now block any website it deems inappropriate without getting entangled in any administrative red tape.

Earlier, the ministry—at the direction of minister Mostafa Jabbar—forwarded a list to the BTRC as well as to internet service providers (ISP) and to IIG service providers.

Ministry sources said they are planning to install DPI technology at a total of 52 places. Of these, the technology has already been installed in 42 places, including 24 IIGs.

Talking with The Independent, an official of the telecom ministry said blocking porn websites or controlling social media may seem unpopular decisions, but “in a booming economy like Bangladesh”, the government has to take these state-controlled steps.

“In many countries, all content on the internet is not free. Hence, in Bangladesh, we are using all the necessary provisions to control the internet,” he said. He pointed out that such provisions could be used to thwart malpractices like question paper leaks.

SR

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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