IT ministry to introduce DPA within three months

ISLAMABAD: Data Protection Act (DPA) is likely to be introduced in the country within three months as the Information Technology and Telecommunication Ministry is taking all possible measures to protect the rights of internet users.

Information Technology and Telecommunication Minister Anusha Rahman on Wednesday said her ministry has been trying hard to introduce the Data Protection Act to safeguard the online and the offline rights of internet users in the country. And, consultations with all relevant stakeholders are in process, she added.

“The country badly needs such laws and the international community should support us in this regard”, the minister said.

“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,” said the minister, while talking to Pakistan Today on Wednesday.

Anusha Rahman assured that within three months the Data Protection Act would be introduced in the country to stop the theft of data and protect the citizens from stealing of their personal data available on the internet.

And, for this, the ministry needs support from all stakeholders. After all, online secrecy is a globally acknowledged right of every citizen under the Article 12 of the United Nations International Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, she said. “I am fighting for the offline rights of our citizens on the internet and the privacy guaranteed to countrymen in the constitution”.

Talking about the theft of data, Anusha said big business companies usually steal personal data of internet users to support their business plan and run their business around the globe. But, this act could allow a strict action against those companies. “I know for a fact that big business firms will propagate against this proposed act. And, we have to face this propaganda in the better interest of the citizens of Pakistan,” the minister said.

Anusha Rahman also said, “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.”

Unfortunately, Pakistan still lacks Data Protection Act (DPA)  to protect its citizens in this digital day and age, when everything is getting transformed by technology and revolutionising the world. The lack of a Data Protection Act is a violation of privacy principles worldwide.

However, with the enactment of a DPA, the basic right of privacy guaranteed to any Pakistani citizen by the constitution will be ensured.

The author is staff reporter at Pakistan Today. He can be reached at [email protected]



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