Bangladesh introduces stricter rules for overseas-bound letters


Bangladesh government has recently introduced a strict rule for anyone sending letter to foreign country. As per the new rule, sender of the letter needs to paste photocopy of his/her National ID (NID) at the back of the envelope. This rule is applicable for letters sent by regular postal service or courier service including DHL, Federal Express etcetera. No other country in the world has such rules.

According to an eye witness, Bangladesh Postal Service or any of the courier service operating in the country would refuse to accept any foreign-bound letter unless copy of sender’s NID is pasted at the back side of the envelope.

This correspondent could not find any official statement from the government on this matter, although the system is being followed whenever anyone wants to send letter to any foreign country.

In Bangladesh, National Identity (NID) cards were issued by the Election Commission.

Biometric identification has existed in Bangladesh since 2008. Bangladesh Election Commission introduced paper laminated National Identity cards through its project named Preparation of Electoral Roll with Photograph (PERP), a UNDP led donor funded project. The project was designed for the preparation of the electoral roll with photographs for the Ninth Parliamentary Election held in December 2008.

A demographic and biometric database was created for 81.3 million Bangladeshi citizens who were eligible to be voters. All Bangladeshis who are 18 years of age or older are issued identity cards and included in a central biometric database, which is used by the Bangladesh Election Commission to oversee the electoral procedure in Bangladesh. Before 2016, only normal identity cards were issued which only included the ID holder’s name; father’s and mother’s names; date of birth; ID number; photo; thumb and index fingerprints; and signature. These paper-based laminated NID cards were easy to counterfeit. However, starting in October 2016, they were replaced by biometric, microchip-embedded, smart identity cards in order to ensure security for the cardholder as well as prevent counterfeiting and fraudulence. The smart NID cards include all ten fingerprints in addition to other biometric and identity information.

On June 12, 2023, the Home Ministry of Bangladesh gained authority to issue NID cards and the Election Commission lost its authority under the law of National Identity Registration Act, 2023.

NID data breach

Over 50 million Bangladesh citizens’ NID data has been leaked online on June 27, 2023, which includes names, addresses, phone numbers, and National ID numbers, and was first reported on July 8, 2023. The leak was believed to have come from the National Identity Registration System (NIDS), a government database that contains the personal information of all Bangladeshi citizens. The leak is a major security breach, as it can be used by criminals to commit identity theft, fraud, or other crimes. The government started investigating the leak, and it has promised to take steps to protect the privacy of Bangladeshi citizens on the same day of reporting.


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