VOICE is a rights-based, activist organization working mainly on the issues of food sovereignty, aid effectiveness, economic justice, and the right to information and communication, both in Bangladesh and on a global scale. By building a broader constituency of alternative voices to the ‘mainstream development discourse’ through research and public education, VOICE is taking a stand against unjust and undemocratic practices.
A High Court bench on Monday ordered the government to remove closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras from the service rooms of beauty parlours across the country.
The order came amid an outcry over privacy after a woman made allegations to police and the media that she was taped on a CCTV camera while taking service at Persona on September 30.
Acting on a writ petition filed by a rights organisation, Justice Farid Ahmed and Justice Sheikh Hasan Arif passed the order.
The judges also issued a rule asking five senior government officials to explain within two weeks why they should not be directed to make a policy over the sue of CCTV cameras in service rooms of female saloons.
The respondents included the information secretary, home secretary, labour secretary, inspector general of police and the director general of Rapid Action Battalion.
Earlier in the day, Advocate Alena Khan, chief executive of Bangladesh Human Rights Foundation, filed the writ petition as public interest litigation.
The petition says after the Persona incident most of the people irrespective of female and male used to take parlour services are in fear that they might have been captured by CCTV cameras and their footage was used for an illegal motive.
VOICE conducted a Perception Study on Privacy Rights. Recently the Study has launched in the Meet the Press titled 'WHY PROTECTION OF PRIVACY RIGHTS IS IMPORTANT' held on 24 September 2011 in National Press Club, Dhaka. The media has picked up the findings of the study and got huge coverage.
The summary of Perception Study on Privacy Rights is attached.
Sun Sep 25 15:31:11 2011
Saleem Samad - AHN News Correspondent
Dhaka, Bangladesh - (AHN)
Bangladesh security agencies need to be under scrutiny of the parliament, as they are blamed for infringement of privacy by tapping phones and hacking emails.
Former senior bureaucrat Margub Murshed made the statement Sunday, saying that during his time as head of the telecom regulatory body, he turned down an offer by security agencies to wire tapping private individuals without proper authorization.
His statement was backed up by others attending a discussion Sunday organized by rights organization VOICE in the capital.
Akhteruzzaman Manju, the head of an Internet service provider association, disclosed that they are forced to provide details of email traffic to the telecom authority commission every three months in violation of privacy rights.
Protection of privacy rights demanded
Speakers at meeting on Saturday demanded protection ofprivacy rights of the citizens while using internet, cell phone and other IT media for various purposes.
They also demanded maintaining privacy of personal datawhile providing to the government and non-government organizations.
Voice for Interactive Choice and Empowerment (VOICE), anon-government organization, held an exchange of views meeting at the JatiyaPress Club with its executive director Ahmed Swapan Mahmud in the chair.Pointing to Article 43 of the Constitution on protection of home andcorrespondence, they said every citizen shall have the right to be secured inhis home against entry, search and seizure.
The citizens shall also have the privacy to hiscorrespondence and other means of communication, they added.
[Dhaka, 24 September 2011] Speakers in the Meet the Press demanded data protection law to secure personal information and emphasize to uphold privacy rights. The programme titled `Why protection of privacy is necessary’ was organized by a rights based organization VOICE at the national press club today.
Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, executive director of VOICE in his statement said that any interception and/or surveillance of email, messaging, telephony involving recording the conversations of clients’ messages is illegal for any operator. “Privacy” itself is guaranteed under Article 39(2)(a) and Article 43 of the fundamental rights of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. Article 33(2)(a) entrenches “the right of every citizen to freedom of speech and expression” and Article 43 guarantees “the privacy of home and correspondence and communications”.
A MEET THE PRESS will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, 24 September 2011 at the VIP Lounge of National Press Club, Dhaka.
The MEET THE PRESS will discuss and share on WHY PROTECTION OF PRIVACY RIGHTS IS NECESSARY drawing the recent incidents of violation of privacy rights. This will also present a study report on perception of Privacy conducted by VOICE. Justice (Retd) Golam Rabbani, eminent scholar Dr. Salimullah Khan, Former Chairman of BTRC Syed Marghub Morshed, Presidient of ISP Association Bangladesh Mr. Akhteruzzaman Manju, Editor of Saptahik Mr. Golam Mortoza will attend the occassion as panelists, among others.
The CIVICUS World Assembly was held from the 10th to the 12th of September, 2011, at the Palais des Congrès in downtown Montreal. Our Executive Director, Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, was in town to participate in a workshop entitled "Beyond 2015: Shaping the Post-MDG Agenda." He was interviewed live on the official channel of the World Assembly, CIVICUS Live.
View the interview at the following link:
[Dhaka, Wednesday, 24 August 2011] Speakers in the workshop said that privacy rights should be enshrined in legal framework building a trustworthy and democratic society. They also demanded data protection law to save the citizens from the private and government’s intrusion. The workshop titled ‘Privacy, Security & Public Interest’ has been held at the conference hall of Catholic Bishops of Conference of Bangladesh in the city organized by a rights based research and advocacy organization VOICE. Civil rights activists, women leaders, lawyers and media professionals have called for enactment of a law to protect personal information from intrusion for upholding principles of civil liberty and human rights.
A day long workshop will be held on 24 August 2011 at the CBCB Conference Hall ( 24/C Asad avenue, Mohammadpur, Dhaka).
The workshop titled `Privacy, Security and Public Interest' aims at raising critical awareness, developing perspective and building capacity engaging the various stakeholders aroundthe issues of privacy and public interest.
Human rights organizations, election monitoring NGOs, media organizations, telecom entities, ISPs, ICT activists, civil liberties groups, journalists, NGOs and CSOs etc, are expected to attend the workshop.