ISLAMABAD- With cyber crime bill having approved by National Assembly a heated debate has been started between the civil society and the government officials. Lawmakers want it passed from Senate to become law at any cost yet the civil society wants it to be revoked. But what actually is cyber crime bill? Why is it creating such a hubbub?
Here are a few facts regarding the bill,
The bill aims to empower authorities to control and regulate the cyber space. It promises hard punishments to those who do not abide by it.
Also Read: Major punishments in Cyber Crimes Bill 2015
The Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill was proposed in 2007, offering penalties ranging from six month of imprisonment to capital punishment of 17 years for cyber crime. These crimes involved cyber terrorism, pornography, hacking of websites, cyber stalking and criminal access to secure data.
This bill could not be presented timely in Parliament and thus became an Ordinance in 2008.
During PPP’s regime, it was presented many times but was left unattended. Since then Federal Investigative Agency has been tackling with the cyber crime under the Electronic Transaction Ordinance which was not formulated to attend cyber crimes or the S.M.S fraud originally.
After two years, a reformulated draft of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes ordinance was completed in 2013 but its subjectivity to comments from all entities involved delayed the matter till late 2013.
After that it met a huge backlash from the opposition and thus went backstage. Now it has been passed from National Assembly somewhat forcefully and still facing strong criticism from civil society.
PECB was approved in the presence of only 30 National Assembly members out of the total 342 therefore no major opposition of the bill was observed in the assembly on the day of its approval.
Civil society, mainly journalist’s objection on it is that it will hinder the journalistic research and limit journalism scope. It also objects that government will be more intrusive given the bill become law and freedom of speech will encroached.