Personal Freedom & cyber crime prevention law

Aizaz Ahmed

The past of the Pakistani state and its institutions in terms of personal freedoms is enough to tell how and for what purposes the cyber crime prevention law will be used. This law, too, has the potential to become a tactic to silence those who deviate from the official definition of Pakistaniness and national security. In an environment where the media is reluctant to discuss issues such as the powerful circles of the country, especially the security agencies, the situation in Balochistan, religious fundamentalism and human rights violations by state institutions, share by citizens on cyberspace Even if the content is tested on the standards set by the state, it will be a blow to freedom of expression in Pakistan. Criticism of national security institutions, international relations, the judiciary and religion is a serious violation of the constitutional right to freedom of expression and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The law is the first step in cyber martial law that would further block individual freedom of expression.

The justification for fearing and opposing the law also provides an important basis for objections from organizations working for freedom of internet use, human rights activists, the business community and the opposition. And proposed amendments were not included. The passage of this law by the National Assembly is a clear indication of the lack of interest in political parties in Pakistan regarding human rights and personal freedoms. It is also an indication that we still have national security and human rights to the state. And the individual is considered first. The law focuses on empowering government agencies to monitor Internet content and remove objectionable content (for government agencies or pressure groups) rather than preventing cybercrime, which has led to concerns about the law. Has increased. Although in some cases access to data and access to data is subject to court warrants, concerns about the involvement and scope of government agencies in enforcing the law need to be addressed. There is also a need to dispel the perception that the law will give the state more power and restrict civil liberties. Giving state institutions access to Internet information and data that is considered private and confidential is, of course, tantamount to state interference in private life.

The law does not include objections from organizations working for freedom of internet access, human rights activists, the business community and the opposition, as well as proposed amendments.

Despite the need for legislation to curb cybercrime and the legitimate constitutional status of the right of elected government to legislate, the state and its institutions have in the past used the same justifications to restrict freedom of expression that The law authorizes the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority to ban online content. According to Article 31 of the Cyber ​​Crimes Bill 2015, the PTA “has the power to make it impossible to access any material through any information system, or to remove such material, if it deems that Doing so in the interests of the greatness of Islam, or the integrity, security or defense of Pakistan or any part of it, friendly relations with foreign countries, public order, civilization or morality or contempt of court, committing a crime or It’s important to keep in mind. “

Delivering the authority to remove or block any kind of content to a regulatory authority based on Islam, Pakistaniness, national security, defense and international relations (for which there is no clear definition or boundaries) raises concerns about the bill. Causes Opposition leader and well-known lawmaker Aitzaz Ahsan’s objection to the government’s bill is also noteworthy. According to Aitzaz Ahsan, it is not clear what authority the court has and what powers the investigating officers will have. The authority to collect information from the accused’s computer or internet devices is being given either to the court or to the investigating officer. Worrying.

Article 34 of the law empowers the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority to block access to the Internet by Pakistani users for content it deems inappropriate.

Article 34 of the law empowers the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) to block Internet access to content that it deems inappropriate for Pakistani users. The lack of a clear definition of “inappropriate” will increase the likelihood of misuse of the law by state agencies. The vague language of the law may justify the removal of unwanted material by state agencies for government and security agencies, as well as the possibility of removing a lot of material under pressure from religious groups. The closure of YouTube in the past is a prime example of the fact that government agencies in Pakistan do not have the capacity to remove unwanted content and take reasonable action in this regard. Fareeha Aziz, a member of Bolo Bhi, an organization working for the freedom of the internet, also said that the PTA is a body to regulate the telecom sector and its job is not to provide content on the internet. Let him decide. ‘

Legislation is needed to prevent cybercrime, but a law passed by the National Assembly would be another restriction on civil liberties. To address concerns about the Cybercrime Prevention Act, it is important to note that prior to the enactment of this law, access to data, protection of the data obtained, decommissioning of online content and removal of objectionable content Necessary laws and litigation rules should be enacted to prevent this law from becoming another Press and Publications Ordinance or Registration of Press and Publications Ordinance. In this regard, pressure and resistance from the parties in the Senate to amend the law under public protection is essential to prevent the restriction of civil liberties in Pakistan.

Article by Aizaz Ahmed student of journalism and mass communication at Abdul wale khan Univerty Mardan AWKUM you can reach him with Email Follow him on Twitter http://@durrani_aizaz