Headline May 01, 2015/ ''' CYBER-IN-LAWS IN REVELATIONS '''


IN AN IDEAL WORLD,  a great global society like !WOW!  -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless, should, essentially manage its own self and in total conformity to the laws. But,.......

In legal reality, the Web is a super mass of abstractions , firing the imagination The Internet has given a whole new meaning to a group of familiar words.

Will an electronic morality manage to resist the effects of Web criminals, or commercialisation?  In its infancy the Internet brought together  people inspired by altruistic ideals.

Mercenary concerns could not have been farther from their minds. They were driven by the desire for change, and the excitement of working with this brand new technology.

When the masses arrived on the scene it was of course inevitable that there would be movement in a different direction. The Net today is may not have quiet fulfilled the Utopian ideal of its founders.

Nevertheless, it is a marvellous achievement that has revolutionised the world of communication in the space of just a few decades and is still developing at an astonishing speed. So be it,............. 

FEW COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD have an impressive record when it comes to universal human rights standards, so neither has Pakistan, even by a very magnanimous measure.

But the formulation of a contentious   Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill 2015, which is pending parliamentary approval before it come a law:

Is Posing a major assault to and on  Freedom of Expression within the country.

In its current form, the proposed Bill, writes one distinguished author, would provide the ruling government blanket discretion to decide what can and cannot be seen or said on the  Internet within Pakistan.

And it prescribes serious penalties for potential transgressors.

The draft Bill, in its current form, poses a significant erosion of the rights of the individual, the impact of which would be felt by not only the  Information and Communications Technology {ICT}  industry-

But the business and legal community, print and electronics media, academia, students and ordinary citizens who use the Internet daily, and as well.    

ON THE QUIET AND for over some years, Pakistan has been trying to draft a bill against cyber crime, based hell of a lot on the existing British, American and Canadian laws.

A coalesced and comprehensive draft was prepared last year, based on consultations with key stakeholders, that to in turn put forth specific clauses to criminalize:

Hacking, Identity theft, using sexually explicit images for blackmail, and other widely recognised illegal online actions.

However, the  Ministry of Information Technology recently adopted the Bill, introducing prismatic and problematic new clauses. Therefore, in its current form, the proposed Bill is not a good piece of legislation.

While it does attempt to address the problem of using the Internet to promote terrorism or hate speech, its definition of what constitutes cyber terrorism is just too broad and not only problematic but also phlegmatic.

Moreover, the Bill aims to unnecessarily regulate Internet usage in a manner which would severely constrict freedom of expression.

For example under the current Bill, blogs, cartoons and caricatures deemed unsuitable or offensive will not only be taken down, but their authors can also be prosecuted, and those found guilty-

Could find themselves jailed for up to four years.

**Similarly, use of  Facebook, Twitter or other Social Networks to disseminate ''obscene''  or  ''immoral''  content is also disconcerting.**

The Pakistani state already exercises sweeping powers to exert control over the Internet, but the new Bill further broadens the scope of arbitrary encroachment of private space and justifies the use of punitive measures against freedom of expression.

Moreover, the proposed Bill lacks adequate checks and balances on investigative agencies, which could enable unjustified persecution and arbitrary abuse of power.

While the Minister of State for information technology and telecommunication claims that adequate safeguards have been put in place to prevent any possible misuse of power, there is not much evidence to this effect within the Bill itself:

To indicate that it cannot be misused for the purpose of vindictiveness, furthering personal vendettas, or to muzzle legitimate opposition or criticism.

Ignoring vocal criticism of a  Citizens Joint Action Committee on the proposed Bill, the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill 2015 is now ready for Parliamentary approval.

One hopes that good sense will prevail and that the legislators will decide not to pass the Bill in its current form.

However, the lacklustre participation in the recent parliamentary panel convened to debate the Bill on April 16, was never very encouraging.

It would be very unfortunate to see a popular and a democratically elected government  put in place such a detrimental Bill despite the engaging attempts to points out its glaring weaknesses.

The Honour and Serving of  ''Technology operational research''  will continue. This is  just too important an aspect not to devout full attention to.

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of Cyberlaw, and billions by billions  users of ICT.  See Ya all on !WOW!   -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

''' Suffocating Cyberspace '''

'''Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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