The wait is almost over as the Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication is geared up to pass the modified “Electronic Crime Bill 2016” this week. The bill intends a maximum penalty of 14 years with fine of Rs.50 million for cyber terrorism.
Senate Standing Committee to Pass Cyber Crime Bill Soon
Sources revealed that the amended Bill will be moved to Senate of Pakistan on Tuesday. After that it will be passed from the House during the same week. The bill should pass with-in this week or it will perish as Senate will meet again from August 18, if it doesn’t meet the deadline.
The committee met with Shahi Syed in the chair on Friday to deliberate the deterrence of Electronic Crimes Bill 2016.
According to the amended Bill, it will deal with any deed committed outside Pakistan by any person if the act creates a breach under this Act and affects a person, property, information etc found in Pakistan.
Parliamentarians and civil society legislative body have articulated concern at the amendments suggested by the government to the cyber-crime bill. According to them the Bill is intended at judging the freedom of expression. The state has compulsions and requisite pledges to safeguard the right to information and freedom of expression of its citizens. The rights are being abridged in the Cyber Crime Bill.
It is the state’s accountability to protect the right to information and freedom of expression of citizens which are being abridged in the recommended cyber-crime bill. They revealed their concerns at a roundtable on “Beyond the firewall: freedom of speech in a censored democracy” held at the Jinnah Institute on Saturday.
The members included PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar, Ali Dayan Hassan, Tahira Abdullah, and others.
Among the problems recognized at the roundtable was dearth of precision as to what creates an offence under the Bill. Participants made it clear that perplexing cyber-crime and cyber terrorism meant that very high punishment has been proscribed for cyber-crime. They recommended that the Anti-Terrorism Act, should be used to observe and rebuke cyber terrorists.
Participants believed that it was important to discriminate between matters of national security and public interest. So that the powers are not misused. It was advocated that subdivisions within the law which adversely impact freedom of expression should be recognized and amended.
With media expanding in Pakistan, there is definitely need for regulation, but not at the outlay of privacy. It is a very critical stage to be decisive on the Cyber Crime Bill. As the modifications will go back to National Assembly and make the process prolonged. It is already too late. So it’s important to identify accurately where restrictions are coming from and how inhabitants can approach it.