Diplomats warned that Bangladesh’s government’s efforts to protect user data in the digital world through the Data Protection Act could backfire by causing a decline in foreign direct investments. The draft online platform regulations have drawn criticism from the US ambassador to Dhaka, Peter Haas, and the British high commissioner to Bangladesh, Robert Chatterton Dickson. Among their issues are the vague definitions of what constitutes illegal online content and the recent announcement that 191 online news portals will be blocked.
According to Haas, the regulations could have an impact on human rights and harm the culture of innovation. According to Chatterton, there is a possibility that the regulation might affect much-needed investment. However, an important fact is that Bangladesh is moving toward becoming a “Smart Bangladesh” and that a data protection act is required to safeguard people’s rights and satisfy the growing need for data protection. The speaker emphasized the need for context and brought up the ICT and DSA acts, which were heavily criticized for being overbearing and ambiguous.
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