A magnifying glass is held in front of a computer screen in this picture illustration taken in Berlin

Senate body approves cyber crimes bill

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunications unanimously adopted the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill 2016 here on Tuesday.

The bill was passed by the National Assembly with simple majority in April this year, with only 30 members, or 9% of the assembly strength, present in 342-member house.

The bill has been criticised by the civil society members and rights groups for putting curbs on freedom of expression.

Under the law terrorism, electronic fraud, exaggeration of forgery crimes, hate speech, pornographic materials about children, illegal access of data (hacking), as well as interference with data and information system (DOS and DDOS attacks), specialised cyber-related electronic forgery, and electronic fraud, etc. would be punishable acts.

The bill, if passed into law, will criminalise cyber-terrorism with punishments of up to 14 years in prison and Rs5 million in penalty. Similarly, child pornography will carry sentences of up to seven years in jail and Rs5 million, with the crimes being non-bailable offences.

The bill also aims to criminalise terrorism on the internet, or raising of funds for terrorist acts online, with sentences of up to seven years in prison.

The Senate Standing Committee, which met with Shahi Syed in the chair, discussed the bill in detail in the session today.

The chairman said the bill will be handed over to the Senate Secretariat and it is up to the Senate to bring the bill on the agenda.

Senator Shahi Syed thanked all the members of the committee for showing keen interest and said the bill had been adopted unanimously due to cooperation of members and the Ministry of Information and Technology and Telecommunication.

The chairman also thanked and appreciated State Minister for Information Technology Anusha Rehman for extending support to the committee.

Anusha Rehman also thanked the committee members and chairman for unanimously adopting the bill.

The Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill 2016 had been passed by the National Assembly and it was refereed by the Chairman Senate Mian Raza Rabbani to the committee for further consideration.


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