One Law To Imprison Them All

April 11, 2015
Zardari-Nawaz-sharif-Fazlur-Rehman-Childhood-Funny-Pictures-600x330How is the picture on the right?

Cute, isn't it?

Would you share it on Facebook? Twitter? WattsApp? Blog?

Under the new Cyber Crime Bill that is about to be presented in Pakistan's parliament, as bad as the SOPA and PIPA acts proposed in US few years ago, you will be jailed for 2 years and/or fined Rs. 1 million (10 lacs) for doing so.

Why?

Because it can be designated "Vulgar" by those whose faces are added (or if reported to agencies by others) and that is a punishable offence (Cyber Stalking).

Note: A copy of the proposed bill as well as initial analysis done by Bolo Bhi can be found at the bottom of this post.
What else falls into this offence?

  • You use, intend to use or indicate to use cuss words (Yaar tum kitnay *%&@*# ho)

  • Any obscene suggestion or proposal (Kia aap mujh sai frandship kareingi?)

  •  Threat of any kind (Agar ab internet theek nahi chala to main Wateen walon ka sar phar donga)


And since there is no indication of what exactly is 'vulgar', everyone can have their own interpretation ... sharing of political satire (Geo News program Hum Sab Umeed Say Hain) can also be considered vulgar and subject to same limitations, which is also worrying for TV Channels. Some other 'possible' vulgar interpretations are:



Do you know who the inspiration is for this law?

Umbridge

This law applies to ANY Information System (Laptop, Pager, Mobile Phone, Tablet, Computer, Telecom Equipment ... any device capable of processing data) which can be confiscated for investigation for up to 90 days, without giving any justification. It's like Umbridge creating her own rules and Inquisitorial Squad in Pakistan after making Harry Potter's life miserable.

Meaning, if cute picture on the top is found in your WattsApp pictures by authorities, you can be convicted of Cyber Stalking. If it is on your blog, it can be blocked by PTA permanently without any repercussions and you'll be put in jail.

Thesis survey formEver received a survey form request on Facebook? Or sent out one yourself? Have you ever received an Event invite or sent out one to others? Have you ever invited someone to play Farmville, CandyCrush or any other game?

Congratulations, you can be jailed for 3 months and/or fined up to Rs. 1 million (10 lacs) for "Spamming".

Why?

Because you probably didn't get 'express permission' from the recipient before sending it out. Usually this means 'written permission', meaning you need to have written permission from the person to send him/her such requests and invites.

And it isn't even limited to social media ...

Text Message

That's right, ANY information system ...

Suicide KernelAnd investigation officer can order PTA to block your website for posting the above picture. Under the new bill, the officer can do so for the Glory of Islam and Integrity/Security/Defence of Pakistan. It also means if I decide to publish ANYTHING about Salman Rushdie's book The Satanic Verses or Sajjad Zaheer's short stories collection Angaaray, Digital Saeen would be blocked for the Glory of Islam.

Ever used Public Wifi, like in a restaurant/cafe/cultural center? Under the new bill these places would need to maintain traffic data and details up to 90 days. If you have set a Wifi at your home, possibly without password, then you are subject to the same rules and need to maintain data information up to 90 days ...

Why? Because according to definition of "Service Providers" in the bill, both a private home and a public restaurant would qualify if they own or operate a public switch network.

Failure to do so would lead to 6 months imprisonment and/or fine.

61155706[1] And finally, if your internet is not working and you rant about breaking (or chopping, because Winter Is Coming) the heads of your internet service provider, that will be taken as "Cyber Terrorism" !!

Which also means, media outlets that publish on their websites news and scandals of corruption can also be dragged into Cyber Terrorism definition because it is any any form of incitement of violence on the internet.

And the punishment is whopping 14 years of jail and/or fine up to 50 million (Rs. 5 Crore).

The Cyber Crime Bill will be soon presented in Parliament and would be rushed through using Pakistan Protection Act as the safeguard. If it goes through, it can not only have highly negative implications for Pakistanis but in upcoming elections people can be arrested for posting rigging or any such evidence online in "maintenance and safety of public order" and prevention of "any coercion and malicious intent" to "malign, intimidate and disseminate false information".

Following is the last version acquired by Bolo Bhi for investigation ... the current bill in the parliament is probably an even worse form:

Pakistan Electronic Crimes Proposed Bill 2015

Bolo Bhi organization has also prepared initial analysis on the proposed bill which can be found as follows:

Initial Analysis of Govts Modified Cybercrime Bill

The new bill needs to be stopped in National Assembly by making parliamentarians listen to us and our concerns. The bill, in its current form, is a Draconian Law and severely curtails freedom of speech and expression.

Reach out to lawmakers, known people and media anchors over Facebook and Twitter so that they get aware of the implications of this bill.

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