Bangladeshi police agents accused of selling citizens’ personal information on Telegram | TheTrendyType

by The Trendy Type

Two senior officers working for anti-terror police in Bangladesh allegedly collected and offered categorized and private data of residents to criminals on Telegram, TheTrendyType has discovered. 

The information allegedly offered included nationwide id particulars of residents, cellphone name data and different “categorized secret data,” in accordance with a letter signed by a senior Bangladeshi intelligence official, seen by TheTrendyType.

The letter, dated April 28, was written by Brigadier Common Mohammad Baker, who serves as a director of Bangladesh’s Nationwide Telecommunications Monitoring Heart, or NTMC, the nation’s digital eavesdropping company. Baker confirmed the legitimacy of the letter and its contents in an interview with TheTrendyType. 

“Departmental investigation is ongoing for each the circumstances,” Baker stated in a web-based chat, including that the Bangladeshi Ministry of House Affairs ordered the affected police organizations to take “obligatory motion in opposition to these officers.” 

The letter, which was initially written in Bengali and addressed to the senior secretary of the Ministry of House Affairs Public Safety Division, alleges the 2 police brokers accessed and handed “extraordinarily delicate data” of personal residents on Telegram in change for cash.

Based on the letter, the police brokers had been caught after investigators analyzed logs of the NTMC’s techniques and the way usually the 2 accessed it.

The letter reveals the id of the officers. One of many accused is a police superintendent serving with the Anti-Terrorism Unit (ATU). The opposite is an assistant police superintendent deputy on the Fast Motion Battalion, also referred to as RAB 6, a controversial paramilitary unit that the U.S. authorities sanctioned in 2021 over allegations that the unit is linked to a whole lot of disappearances and extrajudicial killings. TheTrendyType isn’t naming the 2 individuals who had been accused because it’s unclear if they’ve been charged underneath the nation’s authorized system.

The NTMC is a authorities intelligence company established underneath Bangladesh’s Ministry of House Affairs. The company’s core activity is to watch all telecommunications visitors and intercept cellphone and internet communications to detect and stop threats to nationwide safety. 

Organizations like Human Rights Watch and Freedom House have criticized the NTMC for missing safeguards in opposition to abuses, each in opposition to free speech in addition to privateness. Through the years, NTMC procured refined know-how from companies in Israel, which Bangladesh doesn’t formally acknowledge, in addition to other Western countries, to conduct mass surveillance largely on opposition occasion members, journalists, civil society members and activists.  

As a part of its mission, the NTMC runs the Nationwide Intelligence Platform, or NIP, an inside authorities internet portal that holds categorized citizen data, like nationwide identification particulars, cellphone registration and cell information data, felony profiles and different data. 

Varied regulation enforcement and intelligence businesses have person accounts on the NIP portal supplied by the NTMC. 

NTMC’s personal investigation concluded that the brokers used the NIP platform extra steadily than others, and accessed and picked up data that was not related to them.

“Contemplating the context, such irrelevant entry and illegal handover of extraordinarily delicate categorized information needs to be investigated to determine everybody concerned on this and we additionally request for acceptable motion in opposition to all these recognized/concerned,” the letter learn.  

Baker informed TheTrendyType that there have been a “variety of Telegram channels,” including that one in all them was known as BD CYBER GANG.

TheTrendyType couldn’t determine the particular channel on Telegram. 

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Baker informed TheTrendyType that it seems that the 2 brokers despatched the knowledge to the administrator of not less than one Telegram group, who then tried to promote it. 

Baker stated that the 2 brokers have been notified of the investigation. 

Due to the investigation, all NIP customers from ATU and RAB 6 have had their entry suspended “till the concerned officers are recognized, and correct motion is taken,” in accordance with the letter.

Baker confirmed the suspended entry, saying that if brokers “want any data for investigation functions they’ll gather by Police and RAB HQ.”

Spokespeople for Bangladesh’s Ministry of House Affairs and ATU didn’t reply to a number of requests for remark. An individual figuring out solely as an “operations officer” at RAB 6 informed TheTrendyType that the company had no remark. 

Final yr, a safety researcher discovered that the NTMC was leaking individuals’s private data on an unsecured server. The leaked data included real-world names, cellphone numbers, electronic mail addresses, places and examination outcomes, in accordance with Wired. One other Bangladeshi authorities company, the Office of the Registrar General, Birth & Death Registration, additionally leaked citizens’ sensitive data final yr, as TheTrendyType reported on the time.

In each circumstances, the leaks had been discovered by Viktor Markopoulos, a researcher who works at Bitcrack Cyber Safety. 

Whereas these had been important circumstances of information publicity, this incident allegedly involving the ATU and RAB 6 brokers is probably extra damaging, provided that the brokers allegedly offered data on-line in an try to revenue from their privileged entry to categorized private data.  

Though the incident is underneath investigation, a well-placed supply inside the authorities informed TheTrendyType that there are nonetheless officers who’re providing to promote residents’ information.

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