ISLAMABAD, JANUARY 12, 2019: The Federal government has finally framed and notified the long awaited rules for the implementation of Pakistan Electronic Crimes Act, PECA, two years after the cyber-crime law was passed in 2016.
According to a copy of the rules available with Digital Rights Monitor, they were notified by the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom, MOITT, in August 2018. However, they have not been shared publicly through the MOITT website till the time of writing this report. It is not clear why the government has not made them publicly available.
The PECA rules specify the agency designated under PECA, its composition and functioning, the qualifications of the officials hired for the relevant agencies under PECA and other aspects related to investigations and forensics.
Under the rules, a cyber-crime wing under the Federal Investigation Agency, FIA, has been designated as the investigation agency for investigating cyber crimes. According to the rules, the wing will be organized into investigations, forensics and network security sections respectively. The investigation officer shall submit an investigation report within sixty days of registration of the complaint.
Furthermore, the rules allow for composition of a Joint Investigation Team, JIT, comprising of representation from FIA cybercrime wing, intelligence agency and police. A JIT can be put in place either by the Federal or provincial government.
PECA rules also designate FIA as the agency for seeking or extending international cooperation to any organization or foreign government for investigation of an offence under PECA.
The PECA rules also specified the dates before which two half yearly reports shall be submitted under section 53 of the PECA to both houses of the parliament. The first report shall be submitted before July 31 and the second report shall be submitted before January 31 of the next year.
A copy of PECA rules can be accessed here.
Talal Raza is a Program Manager at Media Matters for Democracy. He has worked with renowned media organizations and NGOs including Geo News, The Nation, United States Institute of Peace and Privacy International.