Cyber Laws in Pakistan

Posted: June 26, 2014 in News and Views

Generally refers to criminal activity where a computer or network is the source, tool, target, or place of a crime. These categories are not exclusive and many activities can be characterized as falling in one or more. Additionally, although the terms computer crime and cybercrime are more properly restricted to describing criminal activity in which the computer or network is a necessary part of the crime, these terms are also sometimes used to include traditional crimes, such as fraud, theft, blackmail, forgery, and embezzlement, in which computers or networks are used. As the use of computers has grown, computer crime has become more important.

Computer crime can broadly be defined as criminal activity involving an information technology infrastructure, including illegal access (unauthorized access), illegal interception (by technical means of non-public transmissions of computer data to, from or within a computer system), data interference (unauthorized damaging, deletion, deterioration, alteration or suppression of computer data), systems interference (interfering with the functioning of a computer system by inputting, transmitting, damaging, deleting, deteriorating, altering or suppressing computer data), misuse of devices, forgery (ID theft), and electronic fraud.

Computer crime issues have become high-profile, particularly those surrounding hacking, copyright infringement through child pornography, and child grooming. There are also problems of privacy when confidential information is lost or intercepted, lawfully or otherwise.

Cyber laws:

Cyber laws or, less colloquially, Internet law, is a term that encapsulates the legal issues related to use of communicative, transactional, and distributive aspects of networked information devices and technologies.

The Electronic Transaction (Re-organization) Act, 1996, The Wireless Telegraph Act, 1933, The Telegraph Act, 1885, Electronic Transaction Ordinance 2002, The Payment Systems and Electronic Fund Transfers Act, 2007, Prevention of Electronic Crimes Ordinance, Pakistan 2007, Prevention of Electronic Crimes Ordinance, Pakistan 2008

These are the laws under which communication; transactions, information, records, and documents in electronic form are governed over internet and to give accreditation to the electronic transactions, information, records, communication and transactions as valid piece of evidence to the correspondence. The offences under these laws are non-bailable, non-compoundable and shall not try in any inferior court other than the Court of Sessions. In case if the act done is under the Electronic Fund Transfers Act, 2007 then there is a civil suit by the Competent Court by determining the pecuniary jurisdiction with regard to the amount in controversy.

The new law

Prevention of Electronic Crimes Ordinance, 2008″

(same as Prevention of Electronic Crimes Ordinance, 2007) is in force now, which was promulgated by the President of Pakistan. The Prevention of Electronic Crimes Ordinance, 2008 extends to the whole of Pakistan.

The Prevention of Electronic Crimes Ordinance, 2008 applies to every person who commits an offence under the said Ordinance irrespective of his nationality or citizenship whatsoever or in any place outside or inside Pakistan, having detrimental effect on the security if Pakistan or its nationals or national harmony or any property or any electronic system or data located in Pakistan or any electronic system or data capable of being connected, sent to, used by or with any electronic system in Pakistan.

The ordinance i.e. Prevention of Electronic Crimes Ordinance, 2008 gives exclusive powers to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to investigate and charge cases against such crimes.

The ordinance covers provision for illegal and criminal acts such as data access, data damage, system damage, electronic fraud, electronic forgery, spamming, spoofing, cyber terrorism etc.

Chapter II of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Ordinance, 2008 deals with the Offences and Punishments. Punishments range from two years to death penalty. For the general guidance offences and punishments are mentioned below:

Section 3 of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Ordinance, 2008 deals with criminal access: The said section states Criminal Access:

Whoever intentionally gains unauthorized access to the whole or any part of an electronic system or electronic device with or without infringing security measures, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years or with fine not exceeding three hundred thousand rupees, or with both. Criminal Data Access is an Offence and Punishable.

Section 4 of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Ordinance, 2008 states Criminal data access:

Whoever intentionally causes any electronic system or electronic device to perform any function for the purpose of gaining unauthorized access to any data held in any electronic system or electronic device or on obtaining such unauthorized access shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years or with fine or with both.

Prevention of Electronic Crimes Ordinance, 2008: Section 5 states Data Damage:

Whoever with intent to illegal gain or cause harm to the public or any person, damages any data shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years or with fine or with both.

Prevention of Electronic Crimes Ordinance, 2008: Section 6 states System Damage:

Whoever with intent to cause damage to the public or any person interferes with or interrupts or obstructs the functioning, reliability or usefulness of an electronic system or electronic device by imputing, transmitting, damaging, deleting, altering, tempering, deteriorating or suppressing any date or services or halting electronic system or choking the networks shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years or with fine or with both.

Prevention of Electronic Crimes Ordinance, 2008: Section 7 states electronic fraud:

Whoever for wrongful gain interferes with or uses any data, electronic system or electronic device or induces any person to enter into a relationship or with intent to deceive any person, which act or omissions is likely to cause damage or harm to that person or any other person shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, or with fine, or with both.

Prevention of Electronic Crimes Ordinance, 2008: Section 8 states Electronic Forgery:

Whoever for wrongful gain interferes with data, electronic system or electronic device, with intent to cause damage or injury to the public or to any person, or to make any illegal claim or title or to cause any person to part with property or to enter into any express or implied contract, or with intent to commit fraud by any input, alteration, deletion, or suppression of data, resulting in unauthentic data with the intent that it be considered or acted upon for legal purposes as if it were authentic, regardless of the fact that the data is directly readable and intelligible or not shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years, or with fine or with both.

Prevention of Electronic Crimes Ordinance, 2008: Section 9 states Misuse of electronic system or electronic device

Whoever produces, possesses, sells, procures, transports, imports, distributes or otherwise makes available an electronic system or electronic device, including a computer program, designed or adapted primarily for the purpose of committing any of the offences established under this Ordinance or a password, access code, or similar data by which the whole or any part of an electronic system or electronic device is capable of being accessed or its functionality compromised or reverse engineered, with the intent it be used for the purpose of committing any of the offences established under this ordinance, is said to commit of misuse of electronic system or electronic devices. Whoever commits the offence shall be punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.

Prevention of Electronic Crimes Ordinance, 2008: Section 10 states Unauthorized access to code:

Whoever discloses or obtains any password, access as to code, system design or any other means of gaining access to any electronic system or data with intent to obtain wrongful gain, do reverse engineering or cause wrongful loss to any other unlawful purpose shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years or with both.

Prevention of Electronic Crimes Ordinance, 2008: Section 11 states Misuse of encryption:

Whoever for the purpose of commission of an offence or concealment of incriminating evidence, knowledge and willfully encrypts any incriminating communication or data contained in electronic system relating to that crime or incriminating evidence, commits the offence of misuse of encryption shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years or with fine or with both.

Prevention of Electronic Crimes Ordinance, 2008: Section 12 states Malicious code:

Whoever willfully writes, offers, makes available, distributes or transmits malicious code through an electronic system or electronic device, with intent to cause harm to any electronic system or resulting in the corporation, distribution, alteration, suppression, theft or loss of data commits the offence of malicious code. Provided that the provision of this section shall not apply to the authorized testing, research and development or protection of an electronic system for any lawful purpose.Whoever commits the offence shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years, or with fine or with both.

Prevention of Electronic Crimes Ordinance, 2008: Section 13 states Cyber stalking:

Whoever with intent to coerce, intimidate, or harass any person uses computer, computer network, internet, network site, electronic mail or any other similar means of communication to communicate obscene, vulgar, profane, lewd, lascivious, or indecent language, picture or image, make any suggestion or proposal of an obscene nature, threaten any illegal or immoral act, take or distribute pictures or photographs of any person without his consent or knowledge, display or distribute information in a manner that substantially increases the risk of harm or violence to any other person, commits the offence of cyber stalking.

Prevention of Electronic Crimes Ordinance, 2008: Section 14 states Spamming:

Whoever transmits harmful, fraudulent, misleading, illegal or unsolicited electronic messages in bulk to any person without the express permission of the recipient, or causes any electronic system to show any such message or involves in falsified online user account registration or falsified domain name registration for commercial purpose commits the offence of spamming.

Prevention of Electronic Crimes Ordinance, 2008: Section 15 states Spoofing:

Whoever establishes a website, or sends an electronic message with a counterfeit source intended to be believed by the recipient or visitor or its electronic system to be an authentic source with intent to gain unauthorized access or obtain valuable information which later can be used for any lawful purposes commits the offence of spoofing.

Prevention of Electronic Crimes Ordinance, 2008: Section 16 states Unauthorized interception:

Whoever without lawful authority intercepts by technical means, transmissions of data to, from or within an electronic system including electromagnetic system carrying such data commits the offence of unauthorized interception.

Prevention of Electronic Crimes Ordinance, 2008: Section 17 states Cyber terrorism:

Any person, group or organization who, with terroristic intent utilizes, accesses or causes to be accessed a computer or computer network or electronic system or electronic device or by any available means, and thereby knowingly engages in or attempts to engage in a terroristic act commits the offence of cyber terrorism.

Prevention of Electronic Crimes Ordinance, 2008: Section 21 states Offences by corporate body:

A corporate body shall be held liable for an offence under this Ordinance of the offence is committed on its instructions or for its benefit. The corporate body shall be punished with fine not less than one hundred thousand rupees or the amount involved in the offence whichever is the higher Provided that such punishment shall not absolve the criminal liability of the natural person who has committed the offence. Corporate body includes a body of persons incorporated under any law such as trust, waqf, an association, a statutory body or a company.

These offences would be tried in tribunal incorporated under this Ordinance and appeal would lie to the High Court.

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