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Senate Committee Approves Controversial Cyber Crime Bill

Senate Committee Approves Controversial Cyber Crime Bill

Islamabad – The senate standing committee on IT has approved the controversial Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill 2016 in its latest meeting. The senate committee met under the chairmanship of Shahi Syed and discussed the key features of the bill.

The bill was approved by the National assembly and now it will be sent to the upper house senate and it must also gets approved in the senate to become law.

The bill has met with strong criticism by the IT industry and civil society for crushing voices on digital media. The critics are of the view that government can abuse this law against its critics to shut their voices and subjected it as a threat to freedom of speech. The government can impose heavy fines and even sent anyone who breaks this law to jail. Criticizing government, judiciary, armed forces and religious beliefs can invoke government intervention under this bill.

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Salient features of bill

  • Up to five year imprisonment, PKR 10 million fine or both for hate speech, or trying to create disputes and spread hatred on the basis of religion or sectarianism.
  • Up to five year imprisonment, PKR 5 million fine or both for transferring or copying of sensitive basic information.
  • Up to PKR 50 thousand fine for sending messages irritating to others or for marketing purposes. If the crime is repeated, the punishment would be three months imprisonment and a fine of up to PKR 1 million rupees.
  • Up to three year imprisonment and a fine of up to PKR 0.5 million for creating a website for negative purposes.
  • Up to one year imprisonment or a fine of up to PKR 1 million for forcing an individual for immoral activity, or publishing an individual’s picture without consent, sending obscene messages or unnecessary cyber interference.
  • Up to seven year imprisonment, a fine of PKR 10 million or both for interfering in sensitive data information systems.
  • Three month imprisonment or a PKR 50 thousand fine or both for accessing unauthorised data.
  • Three year imprisonment and a fine of up to PKR 5 million for obtaining information about an individual’s identification, selling the information or retaining it with self.
  • Up to three year imprisonment and a fine of up to PKR 0.5 million for issuing a sim card in an unauthorised manner.
  • Up to three year imprisonment and fine of up to PKR 1 million rupees for making changes in a wireless set or a cell phone.
  • Up to three year imprisonment and a fine of up to PKR 1 million for spreading misinformation about an individual.

Special court would be set to hear cases under this act. A person can also be trailed from outside of the country if he/she violates this act.

Chairman of standing committee on IT thanked Minister for IT Mrs. Anusha Rehman for her support. Anusha Rehman expressed her gratitude to the committee for adopting the bill. The bill has now been referred to Chairman Senate Mian Raza Rabbani for approval

 

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