Technology companies put the screws on just a day after the government notified rules for social media. Tech Giants Threaten to Leave Pakistan if Social Media Rules Stay.
Social media podiums call the shots as it would be annoying for them to operate in a clogged environment. The rules titled, “Removal and Blocking of Unlawful Online Content (Procedure, Oversight, and Safeguards) Rules 2020,” have been framed under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016 (Peca). The set of rules left out in cold by the stakeholders of social media.
In a statement shared with Dawn on Thursday, the Asia Internet Coalition (AIC) expressed
“It is raucous over the scope of the new law targeting internet companies, as well as the government’s “opaque process” by which these rules were developed.”
According to media reports,
“Earlier this year, Prime Minister Imran Khan assured to sow the seeds of a “broad-based” consultation on content regulation after a strong clap back from stakeholders over the release of formally known as the Citizen Protection (Against Online Harm) Rules 2020.”
Asia Internet Coalition qualms of earlier made promise by the government
AIC managing director Jeff Paine lamented in the statement,
“The consultation that was announced in February never occurred,”
The tech companies rapped over the knuckles regarding the rules announced by the government and issued a calling down the statement,
“It would make it extremely difficult for AIC members to make their services available to Pakistani users and businesses.”
Tech Giants Threaten to Leave Pakistan if Social Media Rules Stay
Thumbnail sketch of the bunch of social graces,
“Under the new rules, social media companies shall provide the decreed investigation agency with any information or data is decrypted, readable and comprehensible format. Subject to justifiable technical limitations, the information to be provided may include subscriber information, traffic data, content data, and any other information or data.”
Second thoughts of the AIC voiced in this way,
“The draconian data localization requirements will damage the ability of people to access free and open internet and shut Pakistan’s digital economy off from the rest of the world. It was chilling to see the PTA’s powers expanded, allowing them to force social media companies to violate established human rights norms on privacy and freedom of expression. Since February when the rules were first released, the AIC has repeatedly stipulated the government to adopt a comprehensive consultation strategy.”
The AIC had expressed its reservations over the consultation process in a letter addressed to Prime Minister Khan in October
Mr. Paine had stated
“The lack of transparency on the consultation, an abbreviated consultation process, and strict local office requirements for online platforms are very concerning. The consultation process, therefore, appears to have lost credibility.”
The AIC issued a final call on Thursday about its future strategy in Pakistan
If Pakistan wanted to be an attractive destination for technology investment and realize its goal of digital transformation, then it should work with industry on practical, clear rules that protect the benefits of the internet and keep people safe from harm.”
People are dying to know the final decision of the government, as social media has become a matter of great consequence.