No law to prevent cyber terrorism
By: Amraiz Khan
LAHORE — There is no law in the country at present to counter cyber terrorism since the Prevention of Electronic Crime Ordinance (PECO) introduced in February 2009 is no more functional after it completed its constitutional life, said a senior official of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Friday.
He said that the Ministry of Interior repeatedly drew attention of the Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology to get the ordinance re-promulgated through the Parliament, but the latter did not take any interest due to the reasons best known to them.
Sources in the FIA Lahore said that a good number of complaints, inquiries and cases were lying pending with the FIA’s National Response Centre for Cyber Crime (NR3C) that was established with an intention to combat cyber-related crimes and terrorism. Apart from this, they added, same condition was being witnessed across the country. Certain cases were being treated in accordance with the general and alternative laws considered not enough for the prosecution by the constitutional experts.
It may be mentioned here that on the establishment of NR3C, the Interior Ministry had hired the services of forensic experts against heavy salaries packages and other perks and privileges who were sitting idle after the expiry of the PECO. “Now if someone threatens others through mobile messages there is now law in the country to deal with such kind of violation,” said an FIA investigator on the condition of anonymity.
The PECO dealt with criminal cases including cyber terrorism, criminal data access, data damage, system damage, electronic fraud, electronic forgery, misuse of electronic system or electronic device, unauthorised access to code, misuse of encryption, malicious code, cyber stalking, Spamming, spoofing, unauthorised interception and other related crimes.
The most important section of the expired Ordinance was 17(1) as per which any person, group or organisation that with malicious intent utilised, accessed or caused to be accessed a computer or computer network or electronic system, electronic device or by any available means and thereby knowingly engaged in or attempted to engage in a terrorist act, committed the offence of cyber terrorism.
The sub-section of PECO 17 (2) stated that “whoever commits the cyber terrorism and causes death of any person shall be punishable with death or imprisonment for life, and with fine and in any other case he shall be punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, or with fine not less than ten million rupees, or with both.”
Source: The Nation