Electronic Crimes Bill Passed After Exhaustive Consultation: Spokesman

Electronic Crimes bill passed after exhaustive consultation: Spokesman

ISLAMABAD,(Pakistan Point News - APP - 5th Augst,2016) : A spokesman of the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom on Friday said the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill 2016 was passed by the Senate after holding exhaustive consultation with all political parties and stakeholders. "A ten-year struggle by the political parties and other stakeholders is behind the passage of the bill," he said while talking to APP. He said the Senate Standing Committee on Information technology had adopted the bill after marathon meetings and suggestions of different stakeholders including social media and civil society.

Work on the bill was started in 2009 and it was presented in the Senate after evolving consensuses among all the political parties in the parliament, he added. He said the chairman of Senate Standing Committee on IT had constituted a three-member sub- committee headed by Osman Saifullah Khan to remove observations and hold public hearing to serve the purpose. He said the Senate had unanimously passed the Prevention of Electronics Crimes Bill 2016 with around 50 amendments proposed to the original draft law.

After the proposed amendments, the bill will now go back to the National Assembly where lawmakers will discuss the amendments, he said. Sharing the salient feature of the bill, he said, the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill 2016 envisaged a 14-year imprisonment and Rs 5 million fine for cyber terrorism, and seven-year imprisonment each for campaigning against innocent people on the internet, spreading hate material on the basis of ethnicity, religion and sect or taking part in child pornography, which can also entail a Rs500,000 fine.

He said, a special court will be formed for investigation into cyber crimes in consultation with the high court. The law will also apply to expatriates and electronic gadgets will be accepted as evidence in a special court. The bill will criminalise cyber-terrorism with punishment of up to 14 years in prison and Rs5 million in penalties. Similarly, child pornography will carry sentences of up to seven years in jail and Rs5 million, with the crimes being non-bailable offences.

The bill also aims to criminalise terrorism on the internet, or raising of funds for terrorist acts online, with sentences of up to seven years in prison. Under the law, terrorism, electronic fraud, exaggeration of forgery, crimes, hate speeches, pornographic materials about children, illegal access of data (hacking) as well as interference with data and information system (DOS and DDOS attacks) specialized cyber-related electronic forgery and electronic fraud etc would be punishable acts.

It will also apply on the people who are engaged in anti-state activities.Illegal use of internet data will cost three-year jail terms and Rs1 million fine. The same penalties are proposed for tampering with mobile phones. Data of internet providers will not be shared without court orders. Foreign countries will be accessed to arrest those engaged in anti-state activities from there.