Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MoITT) is planning to introduce Data Protection Act (DPA) in order to protect rights of internet users in Pakistan.
Data Protection Act will protect the privacy and integrity of data and control how your personal information is used by organisations, businesses or the government. In this digital age, Pakistan still lacks laws and regulations to protect the privacy of citizens online.
IT Minister Anusha Rehman said that the Ministry is taking all possible measures to introduce DPA within three months to protect the online and offline rights of internet users and to stop the theft of data online. While talking to Pakistan Today, she said,
“The country badly needs such laws and the international community should support us in this regard. After Cyber Crime Act, we are introducing Data Protection Act to protect the citizens. Ministry will draft this act and it (act) will undergo consultation process before it is sent to the parliament for approval.”
The online secrecy is a globally acknowledged right of every citizen under the Article 12 of the United Nations International Declaration of Human Rights, 1948. She said that Ministry is trying hard to ensure the online privacy of users and this would not be possible without the support of all relevant stakeholders in this regard.
Highlighting the theft of online data, the Minister stated that many business companies steal users’ data to support their business plan and Ministry might face the opposition of such companies in implementing the Data Protection Act. She said,
“Without prior user consent, data should not be shared with third parties and the aim of a Data Protection Act is to create a balance between the rights of individuals and competing interests of those with legitimate reasons for using personal information.”
Pakistan National Assembly passed the controversial Cyber Crime Bill in August last year after making various amendments to Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill (PECB) 2015. The bill faced the severe opposition of many. Cyber Crime Law ensures the safety of people on the internet. Unauthorized access to information system, data, electronic forgery, cyber threats, hate speech, pornography, cyber-terrorism, fake identities, cyber-stalking, spamming, spoofing and any illegal activity online will lead to severe punishments under law.