New cyber crimes law proposes heavy fines, jail but exempts intel agencies
ISLAMABAD: The new cyber crimes law exempts intelligence agencies and the security establishment but imposes heavy fines and penalties on all others if computers are used for any illegal purpose, hacking, stealing data or disrupting legal data flows.
The Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2014 has proposed five years imprisonment and Rs50 million fines on unauthorized interception of data through technical means but it granted waiver to intelligence agencies from any penalty.
The Act which will be submitted before the Cabinet Division on Monday, a copy of which is exclusively available with The News, states whoever intentionally commits unauthorized interception by technical means of any transmission that is not intended to be and is not open to the public to, from or within an information system; or electromagnetic emissions from an information system that are carrying data shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years or with fine which may extend to five hundred thousand rupees or with both.
Minister of State for Information Technology, Anusha Rahman said on Saturday that they were going to table a comprehensive cyber crime bill before the cabinet, which was prepared in consultation with all stakeholders over the last 3 years.
The minister was of the view that in this technological era, there is a dire need that illegal and unauthorized access to information system, and its abuse should be addressed under the Cyber Crimes Law in accordance with the International best practices.
She further said that cyber crimes are special in nature and should be addressed with special legislation.
“International best practices have been taken into consideration while drafting it,” said the minister chairing a meeting to review the final draft of prevention of the bill. Representatives from Ministry of Law, PTA, FIA and ISPAK, PASHA including Barrister Zahid Jamil were also present in the meeting.
This law will provide waiver to intelligence agencies by stating that it will be applicable provided that it shall not be an offence if interception is undertaken by an investigating officer or any service provider in compliance of and in accordance with the terms of a warrant issued under this Act or by any intelligence agency or intelligence service mentioned under section 51 of this Act:
-Provided further that this section shall not have any application upon the activities and functions of intelligence agencies or services and is without prejudice to national security requirements, and laws identified under subsection (2) of section 51 of this Act.
-Savings of Intelligence Services Powers- (1) Offences, powers and procedures provided under this Act are not related to and have no application upon the activities, powers or functions of intelligence agencies or services and are without prejudice to the operation of or powers exercised under section 54 of the Pakistan Telecommunication (Re-organization) Act, 1996; the Army Act, 1952; the Air Force Act, 1953; the Navy Ordinance, 1961; the purview of the Intelligence Bureau; the intelligence agency or intelligence service notified by the federal government under section 30 of this Act; and any other intelligence agency or service that does not itself undertake the investigation or prosecution of any criminal offence.