'Cybercrime is a global threat, and the preparations against it are comprehensive all over the world'
Bangladesh Police is stepping up its fight against crime initiated or perpetrated on the internet by launching a Cybercrime Investigation Bureau (CCIB).
Although initially undertaken to tackle rumours spread via the web and especially through social media, the planned new unit will also investigate all cases related to cybercrime, according to sources at Police Headquarters.
“Cybercrime is a global threat, and the preparations against it are comprehensive all over the world,” additional DIG at the Police Headquarters, SM Akteruzzaman, told the Dhaka Tribune.
“We will need a lot of preparations to operate the bureau but if all goes well, the journey will start soon. Later, according to the needs of the time, the bureau’s jurisdiction will increase.”
Earlier on Wednesday, September 26, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Dr Mohammad Javed Patwary instructed law enforcement agencies to ramp up social media and internet security ahead of the Hindu religious festival Durga Puja.
As part of its work, the new unit will reportedly monitor thousands of social media accounts and extend technical and intelligence support to other law enforcement agencies.
“The initiative was taken after a few vested groups tried to create instability in the country by spreading rumours during the recent road safety movement on social media,” a police source said on condition of anonymity.
“After this incident - which started after two college students were killed by a bus in Dhaka - the government realized the importance of launching a dedicated police unit that could prevent cybercrimes by monitoring internet activities.”
The source said the government thinks the same vested groups will use the internet to create an unstable environment as the 11th parliamentary election approaches.
Sources said the cybercrime units that are already in operation under the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) and Criminal Investigation Division (CID) are not enough to prevent cybercrimes.
The units receive about 70-80 complaints every month, while cases related to cybercrimes are filed in the 49 DMP stations across the country almost every day. This is why the CCIB needs to be launched as soon as possible.
“The hacking of Facebook , bank and mobile bank accounts, social media propaganda and various other types of cyber crimes are increasing daily, all across the country,” a higher police official said, requesting anonymity.
According to sources inside Police Headquarters, the proposal for the CCIB has passed scrutiny at the Ministry of Home Affairs and is now awaiting approval from the Ministry of Public Administration. Once approved, the unit will become functional across the country.
“The new unit is being established to exclusively fight cybercrimes, including the propagation of rumours through social media,” Inspector General of Police (IGP) Javed Patwari told reporters on Saturday. “Preparations for its set up are at the final stage.”
The CCIB team will be formed with 369 police members arranged under the DIG.
From the highest ranks there will be three additional DIGs, four superintendents of police (SP), six additional SPs and 20 assistant superintendents of police (ASP).
Beneath them there will be 50 inspectors, 150 sub-inspectors, 30 assistant sub-inspectors, 80 constables and 25 officials.
The DIG said: “We have the manpower; we are increasing our capacity. We will also send the members of the bureau abroad for further training and development.”
The Dhaka Tribune has learned that a modern technology-based cybercrime investigation centre may act as the head office of the Cybercrime Investigation Bureau.
Police sources said the Tk28 crore facility has been built inside the CID office with financial assistance from Korea International Cooperative. The centre is currently being used by the CID cybercrime unit, but authorities are considering whether to make it the CCIB headquarters.
“We have formed a coordination cell at the police headquarters to monitor rumours and tackle cybercrimes,” the DIG said.
“The cell will monitor activities of all units and report to us. It will be ensured that no one can deteriorate the law and order of the country by spreading rumours.”
State Minister of Information Tarana Halim has already announced that from this month, the Press Information Department of the Ministry of Information is operating the “Rumour Identification and Removal Centre” round-the-clock.
If any rumour is detected, the centre will issue a press release to inform the media about the rumour within three hours.