Quetta, Balochistan- Internet Policy Observatory Pakistan (iPOP) and a coalition of Digital Rights Organizations, technology companies and IT security experts has urged the government to review the new Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill 2015, which was passed by National Assembly standing committee on IT and Telecom.
The bill in its present form fails to offer a comprehensive solution to cyber security threats. Further, the bill contains inadequate protections for privacy and civil liberties. The government must reject any bill that imposes a fake compromise between security and our most basic rights said Arzak Khan Director iPOP. Accordingly, we request the government to take a robust approach to cybersecurity 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. The Internet Policy Observatory Pakistan 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. Internet is a great tool for development and 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” Arzak Khan said.
The Internet Policy Observatory Pakistan totally rejects Minister for IT and Telecom claims of the consultative process being open and transparent. The bill was edited with military level secrecy and all concerned stakeholders were kept in the dark. I believe that the bill will not take Pakistan to the next level of economic development but will pave way towards choking off access to the internet in the name of “information security” — an understatement for censorship.