UPDATE 2: we can now confirm that the Ordinance is in full effect, infact its been in full force since 31st of December, but it will come up on the National Assembly floor in four months or 120 days.
UPDATE: Some helpful reporters of Dawn News are on the prowl to get full confirmation from the government about this story, the only news report that has appeared is in the Express newspaper today
In a shocking and sudden development yesterday and caught our attention today when it appeared in the newspaper today that the The President of Pakistan has just promulgated the Cyber Crime Bill. I dare to say but this is just a method to crack down on the voice of free expression on the internet akin to the PEMRA ordinance that strangulated the electronic media after Nov 3rd.
I don’t have the exact document but our last understanding of the issue – which was the ‘final draft’ this bill can be considered very dangerous for regular citizens. The bill forms a Tribunal which is in effect judge jury and executioner all encompassing, it allows the FIA full authority to confiscate and arrest anyone who is deemed by the government to be in violation of the ‘integrity of Pakistan’ labeled as a person having terroristic intent – this is a new word created by the Govt of Pakistan for the English Language ;). There maybe some good aspects to the law but when an agency or tribunal supersedes the Justice system one would tend to worry of its widespread potential to misuse.
As per the final draft – an officer can walk into my house confiscate my computer and arrest me, he/she does not have to explain why and neither give reason for the arrest. I shall remain in custody as long as it takes for the tribunal to take collect evidence. And if found guilty by the Tribunal I am punishable from 3-10 years &/or Rs. 5,00,000.
A rough idea about the bill, as the one that was on FINAL DRAFT before all the emergency in Pakistan was, the FIA under orders from a Cyber Crime Tribunal court could accuse anyone of engaging in Terroristic activities and confiscate their computer without reason or explanation, and condemn the person to 3-10 years in prison, and the bill allowed the tribunal to keep the person under question without charge until it prepared the evidence. The onus of proof does not necessary have to come before the arrest. To understand the cyber Crime Bill one could follow the presentation by Zahid Jamil which he made a few months back.
DISCLAIMER: This is my own understanding as per the FINAL DRAFT that was up for approval – though our team of lawyers met the Ministry of IT and voiced their opinions, I am told that they were only heard and we don’t know if it was accepted into the bill. we await a copy and if someone has it please forward along.
(courtesy Tee Emm)
President signs Ordinance to fight Cyber Crime
Accused could be jailed for up to 3 to 10 years and/or fined up to Rs 100,000 to 500,000
IT Tribunal to hear cases under section 193, 228 of Penal Code Pakistan 1960
Islamabad (Sardar Sheeraz Khan) President Pervaiz Mussharaf has promulgated an ordinance to fight cyber crime under which accused could be jailed for up to 3 to 10 years or fined up to Rs 100,000 to 500,000 or both. Under the ordinance promulgated on Monday here, a tribunal with the name of Information and Communication Technologies would be set up to hear case of crimes registered under cyber crimes. The tribunal would work under section 193 and 228 of Pakistan Penal Code 1960. The tribunal would have the status of a court and will work under section 480 and 482 of Pakistan Penal Code. The tribunal would comprise of seven members, headed by a Chairman.
According to the text of the ordinance, accessing any electronic system or electronic devices without permission would legally be a crime. Similarly, accessing, destroying, hacking and sabotaging any criminal data set up by any organization or the government, or committing a fraud using an electronic system or Internet, or making unauthorized changes, or using someone else code or password to access information, or to harass anyone using Internet, or to transmit immoral matter or images, or using electronic system, device or Internet, or to participate in a terrorist or destructive activity are all legally crimes for which imprisonment of 3 to 10 years or a fine of Rs 100,000 to 500,000 or both have been suggested as the punishments. This ordinance will be enforced across the country immediately.