Top Law Firm in Bangladesh

Top Law Firm in Bangladesh

Leading Law Firm in Bangladesh

Leading Law Firm in Dhaka

Legal Implications for Recording and Disclosure of Phone Call Conversation in the Media

The right to privacy of personal communication is expressly stated in our constitution. In today's world, keeping sensitive details confidential has become a huge obstacle. In order to avoid the leakage of personal audio and video calls and secure private information, the government has revised a law. The decision was taken in order to improve the legal argument against the leakage of personal calls without the user's permission or according to a legal requirement. A part of the new legislation is being amended in order to maintain greater control over the leakage of audio and video recordings from cell phones. A proposal has been made to include a provision of the revised Digital Security Act that protects data privacy.

Phone Call Conversation

Can Operators Record Phone Calls?

Mobile operators keep call records for their users, but do not record audio conversations. The legislation prohibits mobile operators from recording voice calls and only allows them to keep a call detail record, or CDR. They only provide that information with relevant government officials ‘in the interests of national security’. 

The CDR is a log of all calls made from and to users, both outgoing and incoming. Operators are required to keep these logs for two years under the 4G policy. Anyone wishing to examine the CDR is unable to do so. Relevant law-enforcement officers appointed by the home ministry may procure the CDR in the interests of national security, according to the law.

It is only visible to the officials on the list. In the fact that mobile operating companies do not archive calls, certain government officials have the authority to do so "in the name of national security." These agencies may also determine the location from which the call was made and answered, as well as the movement of the call's participants. There is no legislative impediment to law enforcement collecting information for the state's purposes. No one else has the authority to publish or disseminate the data. However, if anyone wishes to report national security risks in order to assist law enforcement, they are free to do so.

What are the legal implications of recording and leaking phone conversations?

One cannot justify recording and leaking someone’s personal telephone conversation. In Bangladesh, there is only one law that allows for the monitoring of private telephone calls, and that is for national security reasons. This has been assigned to a few pre-determined government agencies, but they are not permitted to release the recordings to the general public.

We are yet to find proof of any detective services in Bangladesh discovering something incriminating in someone's telephone call, prompting them to file a lawsuit against them depending on the recording. There have been some cases, but none of them state which government agency captured the conversation.

Bangladesh passed the Telecommunication Act in 2001, which was revised in 2010 to incorporate special provisions aimed at ensuring the security of the country. It implies that, regardless of such rules, telephone calls may be intercepted and registered for a period of time when it comes to matters relating to the state's protection and ensuring public order. However, only detective agents, national security agencies, and investigation agencies are allowed to do so. There is no indication of the recording being leaked to the general public in this statute.

The above-mentioned provision of the Telecommunication Act is clearly in conflict with the Constitution, since it guarantees the privacy of all forms of personal communication, describing it as a citizen's fundamental right.

Article 43 seems to protect the “privacy of his correspondence and other means of communication.” It is, however, “subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interests of the security of the State, public order, public morality, or public health.”

The fact that the constitution is considered the basic law of the land and that no conflicting laws can exist within the nation is stated in the charter.

What do the prevailing laws suggest?

The High Court said that the private communications of some people have recently been distributed on social media, and therefore barred the use of a suspect's mobile phone call list as evidence against him. The court went on to say that section 44 of the Constitution protects the privacy of a citizen's mail and all personal confidential communications and that this provision can't be breached.

Section 63 of the ICT Act of 2006 further addresses the confidentiality of personal information, which makes it illegal to disclose information regarding correspondence and punishable by law. This demonstrates that recording and leaking confidential phone calls is a violation of privacy and is punishable by prevailing legislation of Bangladesh.

Where is the remedy?

When the privacy of one's personal correspondence is breached, they can request relief from the High Court on a fundamental rights question if they have evidence of the violation.

Many that secretly record and release telephone calls are committing two forms of crimes: violating the privacy of personal information by secretly recording the conversation; and revealing or leaking the recording in the media and on social media, resulting in the infringement of privacy of an individual's personal information.

Loopholes in the Law

A special provision of the Telecommunication Act requires the government to authorize intelligence and law-enforcement officials to prevent, record or collect information on the communications and interactions of users of any telecommunication service in the context of national security and public order. It may also direct a mobile service provider to assist with such work, in which case the operator must comply. Many people argue that this allowance for monitoring calls violates the law's confidentiality of personal information. Much can be achieved in the public interest, but checks and balances must be in place.

Bangladesh has yet to enact data protection laws, despite the fact that many other countries have done so. Personal knowledge is not even protected by statute. A data protection law should be enacted by the legislature.

While there is a provision for punishing people, who listen in on phone calls, it is not completely fleshed out. Eavesdropping is illegal in Bangladesh, according to the constitution. Eavesdropping is therefore punishable under Section 71 of the Telecommunication Act. However, this is only true for the individual. An individual will be fined if he intercepts another person's phone call.

On the other hand, intelligence and law enforcement departments are excluded. What happens if one of them misuses it, or if it is misused for an unknown purpose? I believe there is a legal flaw in this area. And this provision of the law has provided them with significant security.

The High Court emphasized citizens' civil rights, noting that Article 44 of the Constitution protects a citizen's right to keep correspondence, even letters, private. No one would be able to easily breach this security.