Mounting complaints at FIA: LEAs unsure about role in cyber crime law
LAHORE: The federal government has not notified the role of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and other law-enforcement agencies in the cyber crime law despite its approval by President Mamnoon Hussain more than two weeks ago.
The delay in determining the role of the FIA has forced it to stop entertaining complaints related to cyber crime. After the repeal of the Electronic Transaction Ordinance (ETO) sections 36 and 37, the FIA at the moment has no law at its disposal to entertain fresh and pending cyber crime related complaints which are in thousands.
“We cannot proceed on any relevant complaint till the government notifies the FIA role in the new cyber crime law,” an official told Dawn on Tuesday. Owing to this, the backlog of such complaints is mounting.
A source in interior ministry said since a couple of intelligence agencies and IT ministry also wanted their role in the enforcement of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (cyber crime law), the government is taking time to issue notification in this regard. He said the IT ministry should be engaged with regard to cyber security arrangements.
The FIA believes the new law will help check cyber terrorism, cyber stalking, fake and stolen identities on Facebook, Twitter and other social media links.
The government has to also take into account the proposal of the FIA about launching an extensive programme of awareness about new cyber law especially about punishments against different crimes, capacity building of the officials of investigating agencies and the judiciary.
The FIA has also proposed establishment of a special tribunal and purchase of modern IT-related equipment to deal with new challenges.
“Investigating officers, judges and prosecutors should be taught local and international cyber laws and training of cyber crime investigation officers be conducted by foreign experts,” FIA Cyber Crime Wing Lahore head Shahid Hasan said. He told Dawn on Tuesday that international linkage for information sharing regarding cyber security should be established and signing of international covenants and agreements for international cooperation in combating cyber crime should be made for effective implementation of cyber laws.
He said since the general public and government institutions took cyber crime security casually which often resulted in hacking of accounts, misuse of IPs and breaking into software systems through backdoor and other serious offences, there was a need for launching awareness and education campaigns for cyber security.
According to the cyber law, an investigation agency will have to develop its own capacity for forensic analysis of data and information systems. The law says it the duty of the federal government to establish or designate a forensic laboratory to provide expert opinion to the court of law in relation to the electronic evidence. However, the current forensic laboratories do not have latest software and hardware equipment to deal with (forensic) evidence.
“There is a need to hugely invest in forensic laboratories in terms of acquiring latest softwares and hardwares for enhancing their capacity,” Mr Hasan said.