The government does not need any new law as because it has no respect for law28 September 2022
WE may have to accept all the lies but this government has no constitutional legitimacy to remain in power any more. The government is wasting time in passing laws for abusing power to achieve its goal. Let alone the law on a very sensitive subject such as citizens' personal data protection. Once passed, the law can be misused. The proposed "Data Protection Act, 2022" that has been published for personal feedback quite some time ago has scope for government surveillance on personal data of citizens in the name of data protection.
Critics of the draft bill also point out the primary reason for the government to fast-track the bill is forthcoming national elections to be held in December 2023. It is apprehended that any time before the elections, the law will be promulgated.
Therefore, the TIB's Sunday suggestion to review the proposed bill with recommendations for bringing necessary amendments to it so that it becomes of international standard appears to be of not much importance. But the TIB is right when it says that instead of forming an independent commission, the government's move to form an agency under its control with provisions for indemnity and data localisation would increase the scope for government surveillance on personal data. The proposed law mandates that the citizen data be stored within Bangladesh.
Surely, formation of such an agency, as the citizens' experience with other government agencies goes, would be 'suppressive', to say the least. The citizens in general as well as the journalists in particular know very well how the Digital Security Act, 2018 has led to gross human rights violations and suppression of dissent in the country.
Calling proposed "Data Protection Act, 2022" dangerous, Amnesty International has also expressed its fear that the government can easily trespass into a person's privacy with its "vague and overbroad provisions" to enable and legitimize intrusive actions by authorities.
As the government lacks in legitimacy, it has little considerations for the people's rights in general, and in consistent with its totalitarian and undemocratic character, the proposed bill exempts authorities from civil, criminal and any other legal proceedings for harms caused to people in the course of its actions in the name of data protection.
Therefore, it is futile to expect that the government would hold an exchange of views with stakeholders and improve the draft bill. Those who protect the government for corruption opportunities they enjoy. It is fun for them to pass anti-people laws asking others of their calibre that law matters when the judiciary has little or no independence.