BTRC proposes steps to regulate Facebook for students

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DHAKA : Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) yesterday proposed a set of measures to control Facebook uses by student and youths as the site appeared to be affecting their studies and dimming working capabilities.

“We proposed four measures to regulate the use of Facebook by students and youths who appeared to be widely engrossed in the social network site affecting their studies and normal life,” a senior BTRC official told BSS.

He added that the BTRC suggestions came in response to a cabinet division letter seeking “our opinions” to discipline the use of Facebook by young students.

The first of the four BTRC suggestions sought to enforce security and privacy features, including parental control to restrict students’ engagement in Facebook and mobile or internet.

The second proposal suggested guardians to open separate accounts for their underage children in the internet.

“Steps could be taken for enhanced awareness in educational institutions and media about the necessity of proper and positive uses of Facebook and Internet,” the third BTRC proposal read.

The regulatory authority, however, stressed intensive parental motivation for their children saying it could be the most fruitful step for proper use of Facebook, mobile phone and internet.

Officials familiar with the development said the cabinet division letter on March 27 sought BTRC opinions in blocking Facebook from 12 midnight to 6 AM referring to a suggestion of a deputy commissioners’ conference last year.

The regulatory authority said from technical aspects it appeared difficult to enforce the nighttime block for students alone as until now, no effective mechanism could be developed to ascertain the users age.

It said even if the Facebook was blocked from the internet gateway, one could still use the network through VPN or proxy servers while other platforms like Viber, WhatsApp, Imo could always be used for communication.

BTRC discouraged the nighttime block of Facebook saying night is more convenient for instant communication with the people living in Europe and the USA from Bangladesh.

The telecom regulator also observed in its letter that Facebook is not only used mere as a communication tool for entertainment, rather mass people and women in particular are earning money doing business online through the site.

The Cabinet Division on March 27 sent the letter to the BTRC through the Post and Telecommunication Division, referring to the Deputy Commissioners’ conference resolution seeking the regulator’s opinion regarding the block of facebook for certain period.

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