With an aim of protecting the rights of internet users, the Information Technology and Telecommunication Ministry of Pakistan has decided to pass the Data Protection Act (DPA) within a period of three months.
The Minister of Information Technology and Information, Anusha Rehman told that the department has been trying to do everything under their control to protect the rights of internet users. Moreover, it is also looking to provide the users the security and privacy they deserve. In addition, she said that consultations and meetings are being held with all relevant authorities to bring the Data Protection Act in action. She further stated:
“The country badly needs such laws and the international community should support us in this regard. After Cyber Crime Act, we are introducing Data Protection Act to protect the citizens. Ministry will draft this act and it (act) will undergo consultation process before it is sent to the parliament for approval”
It has been announced that within three months, the Data Protection Act will be introduced in the country. As a result, citizens will be provided security from data theft and personal data stealing over the internet. However, the ministry needs support from all stakeholders.
Online Privacy: The right of every citizen
Under the Article 12 of the United Nations International Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, online privacy is the right of every citizen. Anusha Rehman said:
“I am fighting for the offline rights of our citizens on the internet and the privacy guaranteed to countrymen in the constitution”
Data theft has been an issue in almost every country. Big businesses and organizations steal personal data of users through the internet. Subsequently, they do it to produce business strategies that are beneficial to them. With the introduction of this act, legal action can be taken against those companies. The minister further commented:
“I know for a fact that big business firms will propagate against this proposed data protection act. And, we have to face this propaganda in the better interest of the citizens of Pakistan”
She also added:
“Without prior user consent, data should not be shared with third parties; and the aim of a Data Protection Act is to create a balance between the rights of individuals and competing interests of those with legitimate reasons for using personal information”
Even in this modern age of technology, with the availability of rights to internet users, Pakistan still has no Data Protection Act. This unavailability of DPA is actually a clear violation of privacy principles and human rights. However, if the enactment of DPA is successful, citizens will be provided their basic rights of privacy.