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ICT Act of Bangladesh.. An Overview


At a time India is debating a major revision of the ITA-2000, it is interesting to observe that Bangladesh is all ready to enact a law which is a replica of the Indian ITA-2000.

With India and Pakistan being the two other Countries in the Indian sub continent it is now the turn of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to make this subcontinent a region with individual cyber laws in each of the countries. Sri Lanka has developed a draft act a long time ago but has not been able to convert the draft into a law. Now Bangladesh is in the process of enacting the Cyber Laws for the Country.

While India was the earliest in this region to enact Cyber Laws and therefore had to put  up with a less than ideal draft of the law, Pakistan and Sri Lanka took advantage of the experience of other countries and drafted laws incorporating some improvements. In the light of the above, it is interesting to analyze the approach of Bangladesh which had the experience of all the other Countries of the region behind it.

At first glance however, it appears that the Information Technology (Electronic Transactions) Act 20XX (referred to here after as ITETA) is a close replica of the Indian ITA-2000.

It is disappointing to note that ITETA has even failed to take note of the newer versions of the Indian ITA-2000 and has worked with the older version.

The provisions regarding recognition of electronic documents, the method of authentication using digital signatures, attribution, time and place of contract, the system of certifying authorities etc has been adopted as in ITA-2000.

As regards the "Contraventions", provisions of sec 43 of ITA-2000 has been adopted as Section 45  of ITETA.

The provisions of adjudicator, Cyber Apellate Tribunal and Cyber Regulatory Advisory Committee has been adopted as in India.

As regards the offences, Section 65,66,67 of ITA-2000 are adopted in toto as Sections 66,67+68,and 69 respectively. Sections on protected system and other sections on digital signature misuse are also retained. Present section 72 of ITA-2000 on "Privacy:" is also retained.

The only notable addition to the list of offences is under Section 83 where "Assistance to commit an offence" is being provided with punishments similar to the offence itself.

It is ironic that while a huge debate is going on in India on the "Liabilities of the Intermediaries", ITETA appears to have been drafted in total ignorance of the Indian debate.

Additionally there appears to be some debatable provisions under Section 36 regarding the "Issue of Digital Signature Certificates" where by " An agent can procure a private key for a prospective subscriber" and a Certifying Authority may function "Without a Certification Practice Statement".

The law fails to address issues such as Cyber Squatting, Spam and Cyber Terrorism which ITA-2000 had missed.

In summary it can be said that the ITETA has failed to take advantage of the experience of the neighboring countries in the drafting of the law and exhibits a lack of vision.


December 04, 2005


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