Cyber Crime Bill 2015: What’s Next?

Cyber Crime Bill  2015 Meeting Update
Cyber Crime Bill 2015 Meeting Update
Update on CyberCrime Bill 2015 Meeting

As mentioned in an earlier post, one the most pressing matters in Pakistan these days is the contents of the proposed Cyber Crime Bill, or  the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill (PECB) 2015.

Following the disappointment that the Public Hearing granted was in effect just a 90 minute session with a handful of stakeholders,  there has been some promising news coming out yesterday’s meeting in Islamabad.   According to this report from Dawn,  following a dedicated push by the attending stakeholders, the National Assembly Standing Committee on IT has agreed to delay presenting the bill to Parliament as-is and is willing to work with stakeholders to fix flaws.

So what? what does this mean?

As citizens, we now have a narrow window of opportunity to ensure our concerns are heard before the Cyber Crime Bill is presented to Parliament.

Here are some ideas:

#1 Let’s educate ourselves on the contents of the Cyber Crime Bill 2015, a draft of which can be found here.

#2   Grab a section of the bill that best intersects with your area of expertise. If  you handle a civil dialogue, you are welcome to join this Facebook group and  delve a little deeper here.

Some of the concerns about the proposed law include:

  • One piece of legislation can not possibly encompass all concerns and aspects coming under the banner of Cyber Crime. It ranges from cyberterrorism to spamming. The topics are simply too vast and complex to be competently covered in a single bill.
  • Bill doesn’t differentiate between ethical hacking and malicious hacking.
  • PECB2015‬ takes away the citizen’s ability to challenge blocking / banning of websites/content.
  • The text limits satire & parody – which is seen as a way for citizens to express views and let off some steam.

#3 Get in touch with organizations and individuals who are also advocating for the best possible version of the Cyber Crime Bill 2015 and submit recommendations to the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on IT & Telecomm.

Bolo Bhi

Digital Rights Foundation – Pakistan 

Bytes for All

Media Matters for Democracy

Catalyst Woman

No Public Hearing for Cyber Crime Bill! Let’s Tweetstorm to Get Heard!

Following yesterday’s appeal for a web conferencing component to be added to the Public Hearing on the Cyber Crime Bill 2015 (PECB2015), there is a disappointing update.

According to Dawn, the National Assembly’s Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication has extended an invited to only 6 people, supposed ‘stakeholders’ on Friday’s hearing.  This is in no way how a public hearing  should be held.  Let’s call it what it is – a  private meeting. 

Now what? 

CW PECB2015 Tweetstorm BlogPost Header

I suggest we begin a tweetstorm at 9 p.m. Pakistan Standard Time tonight – for 12 hours straight until the slated time for the private meeting – to raise awareness of the public’s concerns about the Cyber Crime Bill in it’s current state. There should be a public debate on all aspects of the bill.

Starting from 9 p.m. sharp, tonight on Twitter, I request us all to put our thinking hats on and tweet about what concerns you about the Prevention of Electronic Crimes (PEC) Bill 2015 *.

Remember to add the following four hashtags:

#CitizensVoiceonPECB  #tweetstorm #Pakistan  #PECB2015 . 

*Source:  PDF version of the PEC Bill from Bolo Bhi, a non-profit focused on advocacy, policy and research  on gender rights, government transparency, internet access, digital security and privacy.