With the onset of the digital age, legislation that protects citizens from cybercrime and terrorism is needed more than ever, provided that a fair and progressive balance is struck between security and liberty. The Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill does not meet that balance - rather than protect the rights of Pakistani citizens as its authors and supporters claim, its passage will in effect criminalise freedom of expression, and put the privacy of Pakistani citizens at risk. The Bill has attracted criticism from Pakistani and international observers and rights organisations, including the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, and from members of the opposition in the Pakistani National Assembly. This has not stopped this flawed legislation from being passed by the NA Standing Committee on IT, however, on April 13, 2016, with more than 90% of MNAs not present. The fate of the PECB now rests with the Senate.
On Tuesday, May 17, 2016, Digital Rights Foundation and Bolo Bhi will hold a consultation with the Senate of Pakistan, on the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill, to tackle the bill and stop it from being law. Join us!