Cyber Security Bill 2023 Passed in Jatiya Sangsad

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In a pivotal development, the Cyber Security Bill-2023 has achieved unanimous approval within the hallowed halls of the Jatiya Sangsad (JS), signaling a significant stride toward fortifying digital defenses and combating cybercrimes.

The bill swiftly garnered support during its introduction in the JS session on Wednesday, marking a significant milestone in Bangladesh’s commitment to safeguarding its cyber realm. The legislation aims to bolster cyber security measures, empower authorities to detect and prevent digital transgressions, and institute strict penalties for those who transgress the digital frontier.

Notably, the Cyber Security Bill-2023 introduces four non-bailable sections: 17, 19, 27, and 33. These sections, while strengthening the legislation, also suspend the operation of the previously enacted Digital Security Act. The ramifications for violations under this new law are severe, encompassing imprisonment for up to 14 years, fines as high as Tk 1 crore, or both, depending on the nature and gravity of the offense.

ICT State Minister Junaid Ahmed Palak underscored the imperative need for this legislation, emphasizing that while digital technology has brought unprecedented benefits, it has also exposed society to substantial cyber risks. Minister Palak cited incidents such as the 2012 propagation of false information on Facebook by members of the BNP-Jamaat camp in Ramu, which led to significant property damage and loss of life. He also pointed to the 2016 cyber attack that saw hackers pilfer $81 million from the central bank. These alarming incidents prompted the establishment of a dedicated computer response team.

Furthermore, the minister recounted the tragic events surrounding the construction of the Padma Bridge, where a baseless rumor on social media sparked hysteria, resulting in the tragic lynching of a woman named Renu in Mirpur. The Cyber Security Bill-2023 has been carefully crafted to prevent such heinous crimes, notably by transforming previously non-bailable sections in the Digital Security Act into bailable ones.

The bill’s journey commenced on September 5 when the junior minister presented the contentious legislation in parliament. Per parliamentary procedure, it was subsequently forwarded to the relevant parliamentary standing committee for meticulous examination. Following a thorough review, the committee presented its report to the House, paving the way for the bill’s resounding approval.

This momentous decision reflects the government’s commitment to “transform and modernize” the Digital Security Act, which will now bear the name “Cyber Security Act” following the amendment of select sections. This bold step underscores Bangladesh’s unwavering resolve to safeguard its digital infrastructure and protect its citizens from the perils of cybercrime.

Stay tuned for further updates on this groundbreaking development in the realm of cyber security.