Tech giants threaten to leave Pakistan

Tech giants threaten to leave Pakistan

A day after the government notified rules that define how social media will be governed in Pakistan, technology companies announced that the regulations would make it difficult for them to continue their operations in the country.

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).

In a statement, the Asia Internet Coalition (AIC) expressed its alarm over the scope of the new law targeting internet companies, as well as the government’s “opaque process” by which these rules were developed. 

“The consultation that was announced in February never occurred,” AIC managing director Jeff Paine regretted in the statement.

The tech companies warned that the rules would make it extremely difficult for AIC members to make their services available to Pakistani users and businesses.

Under the new rules, social media companies shall provide the designated investigation agency with any information or data in decrypted, readable and comprehensible format.

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