Spy Agencies Seek Introduction of Law to Curb Cyber Crimes

Spy Agencies Seek Introduction of Law to Curb Cyber Crimes

May 27, 2012

Security agencies, including Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Federal Investigation Authority (FIA) and Intelligence Bureau (IB), have called for a quick promulgation of a law to check electronic crimes.

No law currently exists in the country to curb such crimes after provisions of the Electronic Crimes Ordinance (PECO) of 2009 lapsed. It was last re-promulgated by the President on July 4, 2009.

Security agencies also called for restructuring the Bill, saying that laws relating to cyber crimes should be promulgated and implemented immediately to control all electronic crimes.

A meeting of a Select Committee of the National Assembly was held on Friday at the Parliament House that took up the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill of 2010. It decided to summon officials of the Ministry of Information Technology, the Chairman of PTA and senior officials of intelligence agencies to discuss bill’s draft.

The bill prescribes more than two years of imprisonment and a maximum fine of Rs1 million on person or persons involved in electronic crimes by using of electronic means for anti-social and/or anti-state activities, says the draft bill. 

The meeting was told that security agencies, including ISI, FIA and IB had strongly recommended that the law’s immediate implementation to curb cyber crimes. They said that through the law’s promulagation, complications being faced in investigation and prosecution of such cases would be avoided.

The ordinance was under consideration of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on IT. It was cleared by the committee on July 8, 2009 before its presentation before the National Assembly.

The National Assembly could not take up the Bill in its 17th session. Subsequently, the bill was referred to the Select Committee, which last met on June 22, 2011. During that meeting, the committee had decided to induct a group of experts to vet the draft for restructuring the Bill.   

The bill’s draft emphasised that legislation should be promulgated with a focus on introducing a range of offences including, unauthorised access to data, unauthorised access with an intent to commit or facilitate commission of further offences, data damage, electronic system damage and electronic fraud. It also recommended including other offences such as electronic forgery, hacking electronic system or electronic devices, publishing of obscene information in electronic form, malicious code, cyber stalking, spamming, spoofing, unauthorised interception and cyber-terrorism.

According to the draft bill, as many as four offences to be inserted in the law including the sale of a SIM card, modification of a telecommunication unique device identifier, sale and purchase of mobile/wireless handsets without proper IMEIs and use of another person’s SIM without his consent.

The draft of the bill says: “Whoever sells, purchases or obtains activated subscriber identity module (SIM)card(s), re-usable identification module (R-UIM) or other portable memory chip(s) designed to be used in mobile cellular/wireless handset for transmitting and receiving of intelligence without obtaining and verification of subscriber’s antecedents, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years or with fine not exceeding one million rupees, or with both.”

“(1) Whoever changes, modifies, alters, tampers, interferes, re-programmes, or offers or agrees to, or offers or agrees to arrange for another person to, change, modify, alter, tamper, interfere , or re-programme the operation of, unique device identifier or MEI number of any cellular mobile/wireless handset, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years or with fine not exceeding one million rupees, or with both.

“(2) A person does not commit an offence under sub-section (1) if he is the manufacturer of the device, or does the act with the written consent of the manufacturer of the device or re-programmes the device pursuant to a legal authorization.

“Provided that where the Court imposes fine under this section, it may direct that the whole or any part thereof shall be paid to the person who has suffered any mental or monetary loss because of commission of the offence specified herein”.

“Whoever indulges in the sale or purchase of cellular mobile/wireless handsets which have no, fake, or duplicate unique device identifier or lMEl number shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years or with fine not exceeding one million rupees, or with both.

“Whoever uses another person’s Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) illegally, unauthorized or without the consent of the Subscriber of the SIM shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two year or with fine not exceeding one million rupees, or with both.”

The next meeting of the Committee in which all stockholders will participate will be held on June 6.(Business Recorder)

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Spy Agencies Seek Introduction of Law to Curb Cyber Crimes
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