ISLAMABAD: There is need to adopt a more balanced, comprehensive and technically-sound approach in finalizing the legislation of the proposed Cyber Crime Bill. This was the crux of a session on “Perspectives on Cyber-Crime Bill 2015,” at the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) on Wednesday.
Chaired by former senator and IPS chairman Professor Khurshid Ahmed, the panel included the keynote speakers Member NA Standing Committee on IT and Telecom Major (retd) Tahir Iqbal and Internet Services Providers Association of Pakistan Convener Wahajus Siraj.
Sharing an overview of the proposed bill, Iqbal said the bill was aimed at ensuring safe and productive use of the internet, protection of national assets as well as civic safety through robust cyber security. It also aimed to ensure protection of women and children, curbing hate speech and glorification of terrorism. In addition it was designed for the prevention from cyber-terrorism, unauthorised interceptions and financial crimes. He added that the bill was geared at enabling conducive environment for multinational IT and e-commerce organisations for business investment and operations in the country.
Deliberating on the merits and demerits of the bill, Wahaj underlined gaps, including duplication of laws with other existing legislations while highlighting its technical inconsistencies.
Sharing examples, he said that some clauses in the bill seemed like an intent to control or suppress different forms of political dissent in social media which could affect the civil liberty directly or indirectly. He regarded the step as an undemocratic one, especially when there were no visible restrictions of similar sort on the mainstream print and electronic media.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 14th, 2015.