IT industry opposes cybercrime bill

Published: April 27, 2015
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The bill paves way for choking access to the internet in the name of information security in Pakistan, says Arzak. CREATIVE COMMONS

The bill paves way for choking access to the internet in the name of information security in Pakistan, says Arzak. CREATIVE COMMONS

QUETTA: The Balochistan Internet Policy Observatory Pakistan (iPOP) and a coalition of digital rights organisations, technology companies and IT security experts have urged the government to review the new Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill 2015.

Director iPOP Arzak Khan on Sunday said the bill in its present form fails to offer a comprehensive solution to cyber security threats, adding that the bill contains inadequate protections for privacy and civil liberties.

“The government must review the law and do not pass such bill that imposes a fake compromise between security and our most basic rights,” he said.

“Government should take a robust approach to cyber-security and seek consultations from all stakeholders’ including civil society, research institutes, policy think tanks, IT experts and most importantly people who use it for before passing any legislation,” Arzak said.

He said iPOP strongly opposes this bill in its current form. The growth of IT and telecom industry is a key for socio-economic development of Pakistan but the current bill instead of creating an enabling environment and promoting internet access is expected stifle innovation and diffusion of internet.

Arzak said internet is a great tool for development. “We must take advantage of the positive aspects of this technology without suffering an undue loss to our civil liberties under the euphemism of national security and protection of society,” he said. The bill was drafted in secrecy and all stakeholders were kept in the dark.

The bill will not take Pakistan to the next level of economic development, but pave way for choking access to the internet in the name of information security — an understatement for censorship, he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 27th, 2015. 

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