Deconstructing Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill 2015 – “Chapter IV International Cooperation” – Part 3
10. Section 37 on Page 11 states:
37. International Cooperation – (1) The Federal Government may on receipt of request, extend such cooperation to any foreign Government, 24 x 7 network, any foreign agency or any other international organization or agency for the purposes of investigations or proceedings concerning offences related to information systems, electronic communication or data or for the collection of evidence from relating to an offence or obtaining expeditious preservation and disclosure of data by means of an information system or real-time collection of data associated with specified communications or interception of data under this Act.
(2) The Federal Government may, at its own, forward to a foreign Government, 24 x 7 network, any foreign agency or any international agency or organization any information obtained from its own investigations if it considers that the disclosure of such information might assist the other Government, agency or organization etc. as the case may be in initiating or carrying out investigations or proceedings concerning any offence.
(3) The Federal Government may require the foreign Government, 24 x 7 network, any foreign agency or any international agency to keep the information provided confidential or use it subject to some conditions.
(4) The Federal Government shall be responsible for sending and answering requests for mutual assistance, the execution of such requests or their transmission to the authorities competent for their execution.
(5) The Federal Government may refuse to accede to any request made by a foreign Government, 24 x 7 network, any foreign agency or any international organization or agency if the request concerns an offence which may prejudice its national interests including its sovereignty, security, public order or an ongoing investigation or trial.
The Act gives the Federal Government unregulated, arbitrary powers to share information with international governments/agencies without any oversight which is troubling. The definition of information very well covers ALL form of electronic communication, SMS, phone calls and emails and combined with absolute powers to share such data with international organizations at will presents a serious concern for citizens’ right to privacy.
In sub-section (3) the Act attempts to limit international governments to keep the information confidential or use it subject to some conditions – which is completely redundant. International government are neither bound by this Act nor by any such conditions that Pakistan’s Government may subject the information to.
Blog is written by Media Matters for Democracy