Bangladesh to deploy Israeli phone wiretapping system

The Israeli-American security firm Verint Systems is set to win a mass public surveillance contract in Bangladesh.

The Dhaka-based newspaper The Daily Star reported last week that Verint is one of several firms set to share a Ministry of Home Affairs contract for the mass wiretapping of Bangladeshi phone and Internet communications.

This is the latest example of technology Israel developed to intercept Palestinian telecommunications being exported for governments abroad to monitor their citizens.

Bangladesh formed the National Telecommunication Monitoring Centre (NTMC) in 2010 to expand its surveillance capabilities.

The Bangladeshi government at the time could monitor and record no more than 5,000 devices at one time. Later technology expanded that reach to 50,000 devices in 2013.

According to The Daily Star, the “present NTMC monitoring system is old and lacks the capacity to control the modern information technology.”

The paper explains that “more modern equipment is required to assume more control over obstructing or recording users’ telephonic or online communications so that intelligence activities could be conducted more smoothly.”

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To enhance its capabilities the NTMC is buying a series of monitoring systems from seven firms including Verint Systems.

The Bangladeshi government says the system will be deployed to surveil “criminals” and those that threaten national security.

The Sheikh Hasina regime has been repressing Bangladesh’s ongoing labor insurgency, raising concerns about what populations the government is defining as criminal.

Verint has sold similar mass telecom surveillance systems to India, Mexico and, most famously, to the United States where Verint was implicated with another Israeli firm in the National Security Agency wiretapping scandal.

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