Rejecting the criticism of rights groups, Pakistan has enacted a cybersecurity law that grants sweeping powers to the government to block private information that they deem illegal, or possibly, simply just critical of the government.
The National Assembly approved the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill 2015 on Aug. 13 after the Senate had unanimously adopted it last month.
Government officials say tha the new Internet restrictions are needed to ensure security against growing threats, such as terrorism.
But human rights and pro-democracy activists worry that its vague language could curn free speech and lead to unfair prosecutions.
“The overly broad language used in the bill ensures that innocent and ignorant Pakistani citizens, unaware of the ramifications of what the bill entails, can be ensnared and find themselves subject to very harsh penalties,” said Nighat Daad, founder of a group called the Digital Rights Foundation.
“There have been no provisions set in place to protect sensitive data of Pakistani users … The state should not police people’s lives in this manner.”
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