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Bangladesh’s Digital Security Bill can have a ‘chilling effect on free speech’: Asia Internet Coalition

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We missed this earlier. Asia Internet Coalition said in June that Bangladesh's Digital Security Bill (BDSA) creates several obstacles to the conducive use of the internet ecosystem due to several vague obligations, unchecked powers, disproportionate penalties, and unworkable compliance requirements. The coalition, to which Facebook, Google, Amazon, LinkedIn, Twitter, Yahoo! are members, pointed out that the Act can have a chilling effect on free speech, and highlighted issues with how offences are laid out in it. Other members of the coalition are Apple, Expedia Group, Line, Rakuten, Airbnb, Grab, and Booking.com. Bangladesh had passed the Digital Security Bill 2018 in September last year. Protests have been carried out against the bill; Amnesty International has called the law an attack on freedom of expression. The coalition pointed out its issues with the Act, and also made some recommendations: The act can have a 'chilling effect on free speech'; offences under Act vague and subjective AIC said that certain provisions of the act such as Section 21, 25 and 31 will have a “chilling effect on speech” because they’re “vaguely drafted”. It cited Section 66A of India’s IT Act which the Indian Supreme Court struck down for being “open ended, undefined, and vague”. It also urged the Bangladeshi government bear in view the “well established” tenets of international human rights law such as Article 19(3) of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights. It points out issues specific to different clauses: Section 21 of the act contains the punishment for any type…

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