An Examination of Pakistan's Cybercrime Law
26 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2016 Last revised: 28 Dec 2016
Date Written: October 29, 2016
Pakistan's Prevention of Economic Crimes Act, 2016 (PECA'16), has introduced a number of new offences in its domestic criminal justice system, and also establishes a compliance regime as to issuance of various kinds of warrants, namely: (1) Warrant of Retention, (2) Warrant of Search/Seizure, (3) Warrant of Disclosure/Provision of Access, and (4) Order in the nature of Warrant for Collection of Information in Real-Time.
Furthermore, PECA'16 also has blanket authorization provisions that: (1) empower Pakistan's Telecommunication Authority ('Authority') to block access, without court order, to any online information, and (2) empower the federal government to issue 'directives' to owner of any information, and declare that violation of the given directives shall be punishable with imprisonment and/or fines.
In this treatise we allude to the fact that PECA'16 is likely to offend Articles 4 and 9 (concerning due process guarantee as to liberty); Articles 8 and 19 (concerning freedom of speech); and Article 14 (concerning protection of privacy) under Pakistan's Constitution.
This treatise provides an introduction of the essential concepts of PECA'16. For convenient reading the body of this treatise has been arranged into eight parts as below. The first part serves as an introduction to PECA'16, the second part identifies the new offences that under PECA'16, the third part comments on the vagueness of the statutory language of the offences under PECA'16, the fourth part highlights thresholds as to issuance of various warrants under PECA'16, the fifth part analyses the sufficiency (or the lack) of safeguards in PECA'16 as to privacy of Pakistan's citizens, the sixth and seventh parts analyze various blanket authorization provisions in PECA'16, and the eight part serves as the conclusion to this treatise.
Keywords: Constitutional Law, Cybercrime Law, Due Process, Civil Liberties, Human Rights, Right to Privacy, Right to Freedom of Speech
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