Perspective on Cyber-Crime Bill, 2015

Currently, Pakistan has no comprehensive or even marginally adequate laws to deal with the growing threat of cybercrime to some extent. The government is considering regulating the internet with the objective of curbing cybercrimes. A draft bill of the legislation in this regard has already been approved by the Standing Committee of the Parliament on Information Technology. However the bill even before being debated in the Parliament and enacted as law is subjected to criticism by the NGOs and various human rights groups. With this regard, a consultative session titled ‘Perspective on Cyber-Crime Bill, 2015, was held at the Institute of Policy Studies, Islamabad on May 13, 2015. The Session was chaired by former senator and IPS chairman Professor Khurshid Ahmed, the panel included the important speakers Member NA Standing Committee on IT and Telecom Major (retd) Tahir Iqbal and Internet Services Providers Association of Pakistan Convener Wahaj us Siraj. The session’s participants included lawyers, IT professionals and academics including the faculty member of MUST, Arooj Malik and 10th Semester Students Zohaib Baig and Saad Ansari who studied IT laws in much detail in their final semester. The participants including MUST students provided valuable suggestions for the improvement in the bill including inclusion of clearer definitions of cyber offenses, distinction between cyber security and cyber-crime, establishment of computer emergency response teams (CERT), regulation of internet cafes, preventive measures against foreign cyber intrusions, establishment of help lines, and equipping investing officials and relative authorities with needed technical expertise and that the Government should progress towards the ratification of relevant international treaties, to ensure better international assistance, but also to further guarantee protection of individual rights.