Rights group rejects ‘select consultations’ on cyber bill
QUETTA: Amid calls for greater consultation with stakeholders on the controversial cybercrime bill, an internet rights’ group has accused the government of hearing only select voices with a narrow focus towards national security.
Internet Policy Observatory Pakistan (iPOP), an internet research group, claims that the government, in order to placate a vociferous demand for broader consultation on the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill 2015, has handpicked groups for hearing who are nothing more than government surrogates. “There is no transparency in the consultation process, and the bill is being wrapped in a deep cover of secrecy,” Director iPOP Arzak Khan said.
The bill was passed by the National Assembly Standing Committee on Information Technology last week. It will now be debated on the floor of the assembly before being referred to the Senate.
Arzak Khan, while rejecting the consultation process, claimed that the proposed bill gives indemnity to the government and law enforcement agencies. He called for civil society organisations and IT experts from all the provinces, especially from Balochistan, to be taken on board.
He warned that overregulation of internet under the proposed cybercrime bill may deprive users of major benefits the information economy brings.