Beware of the Cyber Crime Bill: Activities that you thought harmless can send you to jail now

03:23 PM | 11 Aug, 2016
Beware of the Cyber Crime Bill: Activities that you thought harmless can send you to jail now
ISLAMABAD (Staff Report) - The National Assembly on Thursday approved the controversial Cyber Crime Bill 2015 with a vast majority despite the opposition it faced from Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

The bill was tabled in the Lower House by Minister of State For Information Technology, Anusha Rehman.

The Upper House, the Senate, has already approved the bill after several amendments to the original bill. The bill now will be forwarded to President Mamnoon Hussain, who will formally invoke it as a law in the country.

Here are the key features of the bill:

  • Under the new law, special courts will be established across the country to investigate the cyber crimes. Any punishment awarded by these courts could be challenged in the superior judiciary within a duration of 30 days.
  • Anyone found guilty of cyber terrorism will face 14-year imprisonment and a Rs5 crore fine.
  • Hate speech on internet could cost the one an imprisonment of up to 7 years.
  • For online fraud, one could be sentenced to 3 years imprisonment and a Rs5 lakh fine.
  • 7-year imprisonment and Rs5 lakh fine for uploading immoral pictures of underage people on internet.
  • Seven-year imprisonment for raising funds for a terrorist organisation through internet.
  • 10-year imprisonment and Rs10 lakh fine for misusing internet data.
  •  A similar punishment and fine for tempering mobile phones.
  • 5-year imprisonment and Rs5 lakh fine for selling mobile SIMs illegally.
  • The law will also be applicable on the Pakistanis residing in some other country.
  • The law will not be applicable on print and electronic media organisations.
  • Any action against the PTA licence holder entity will be taken as per the PTA laws.
  • Under the bill, a special permission from the court will be required to seek any exchange of information at the international level.
  • The relevant authorities will also take measurements to put an end to the online interference of security agencies.
  • As many as 30 other crimes have also been included in the bill, which will be treated according to the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).
  • Government officials will present reports on the implementation of the law in the Parliament twice a year.