22 Nov 2020
Internet giants Facebook, Google, Apple and others and others have threatened to leave Pakistan over new censorship rules. The tech companies have joined hands to create a group called the Asia Internet Coalition (AIC). In a statement, group said that they were “alarmed” by the scope of Pakistan’s new law targeting internet companies. Here’s all you need to know about what has made IT companies in Pakistan upset and more
“The draconian data localization requirements will damage the ability of people to access a free and open internet and shut Pakistan’s digital economy off from the rest of the world. It’s 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,” said the companies in a joint statement. “AIC members are alarmed by the scope of Pakistan’s new law targeting internet companies, as well as the government’s opaque process by which these rules were developed,” adds the statement.Under news laws, technology companies that fail to remove or block the unlawful content from their platforms within 24 hours of notice from Pakistan authorities will face a fine of up to $3.14 million.
As per a report in Reuters, any platform that has more than half a million users in the country will have to register with the PTA within nine months and establish a permanent office and database servers in Pakistan within 18 months.As per the technology companies, new rules will make it extremely difficult for them to make their services available to Pakistani users and businesses. The new rules were approved initially by Prime Minister Imran Khan’s cabinet in February this year. The Pakistan government, however, backtracked then and promised an extensive consultation process after technology companies threatened to leave the country.
According to technology companies, the consultation never occurred and urged the government to “work with industry on practical, clear rules”.If Pakistan wants to be an attractive destination for technology investment and realise its goal of digital transformation, we urge the Government to work with industry on practical, clear rules that protect the benefits of the internet and keep people safe from harm.