Jannatul Islam Rahad
The government re-opened the Facebook (FB) on Thursday keeping the ban on other applications WhatsApp and Viber.
The decision came four days after a high-level meeting on Sunday among the government, regulator and the Facebook authority.
As soon as the decision was announced at noon, millions of FB users in Bangladesh heaved a sigh of relief, with some saying they felt as if "coming out of closed doors."
Others shared their experiences during the FB outage and how this disconnected them from people in and outside Bangladesh. However, they shared the government's concern over security that led to the temporary suspension of FB services.
''The government took the decision (to close down the entire social media networking in the country) over security concern. Now we have withdrawn ban on Facebook only. We are keeping the ban on other messaging apps which still are security sensitive.'' Tarana Halim, State Minister for Telecom, told the Daily Observer, soon after the lid was taken off the FB.
The minister thinks the decision of Facebook ban was right due to security concern around the country after the execution of two war criminals Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed and Salauddin Quader Chowdhury last month.
Tarana said, ''Withdrawal of the ban was a government decision only. There is no impact of meeting with Facebook authority."
She thanked the young generation who kept themselves calm and peaceful in absence of the FB.
''The ban kept the security in a controlled level. If we had improved security just 5 percent (compared to earlier), that is our success. The media and youths should support government on security issues,'' Tarana added.
The experts and officials concerned think it is a good decision to reopen the service while the government should keep eye on the internet-based crimes in the country.
''Again I want to say that the shutting down and blackout are not really solution at all for any particular crime. Facebook is only one source of digital crime. So the government should focus on the overall internet security that will provide string defence against digital crimes,'' Mustafa Jabbar, former president of Bangladesh Computer Samity, told the Daily Observer on Thursday.
The veteran technology expert thinks the existing judicial system is not technology concerned at this moment. He suggested the government literate the people working with the law enforcement agencies as well as judicial system to the technology terms.
He said, ''There is no specific law in our country to prevent the crimes due to using internet, which is known as digital crime. There are 95 per cent of the total internet users surfing internet through mobile phone in the country. So the digital crimes happen in broad way with these devices.''
'The government should reshape the existing 167 acts with the technology related issues to attain digital defence,' Mustafa Jabbar added.
Mustafa also focused on the human resource development to offset digital crimes. He expressed his deep concern over the delayed processing of draft 'Digital Crime Act', now awaits Law Ministry vetting.
The government is working on developing a system to scan the contents with risk on internet and has authorised a Bangladeshi Company to develop the system.
Syed Almas Kabir, Chief Executive Officer of Metro Net, the system developer company, said,'' The country is not ready at all. The government is working to develop a system to scan the contents on internet. The process will help the authority regarding security."
" When the system will be developed, the national security agencies will detect the specific offender without imposing ban on internet''.
Fahim Mashroor, former president of Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS), said the ban (on social media) was a wrong decision.
He said, " The security concern is always being with internet. Besides, we found many of the users including government officials were using the site in alternative ways. So the ban impacted the marginal users. However, the government overlooked its capacity to deal with internet- based crime. Again I can say the ban was a wrong decision."
Facebook is the main hub of communication at this moment. The events happened in last three weeks failed to reach target audience due to ban on Facebook.
''There are hundreds of social media page management companies in our country. All of them lost millions of taka due to the shutdown,'' Arif Nezami, Chief Executive Officer of Prenuer Lab, told the Daily Observer.
The social media expert also said Bangladeshi sites missed a huge clicks as 90 per cent of the clicks on sites redirect from the giant of social media.
There are over 10 million Facebook users in Bangladesh when there are 54.6 million internet users with 95 per cent in mobile connectivity, according the October update of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC).
Earlier onNovember 18, the decision to block the social media platforms, including one hour internet blackout, came soon after the Supreme Court rejected review petitions placed by war criminals Salauddin Quader Chowdhury and Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed.