The government has by-passed the Cabinet in case of “National Cyber Security Bill” made part of the National Action Plan (NAP) that would be presented in the Parliament on Friday. This was revealed at a meeting of Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication (IT&T) that met with Mohammad Idrees Khan Safi in the chair here on Wednesday.
Briefing the parliamentary panel, State Minister for IT&T Anusha Rehman said that the National Cyber Security Bill for controlling cyber terrorism/crime is a vital step towards protecting national integrity and security against any possible hacking, data intrusion or illegal access to sensitive government affairs.
She further said that the Bill was sent to Prime Minister and later to the Cabinet, however fearing a delay in approval by the Cabinet the Prime Minister was requested to send it to the National Assembly. The prevention of Electronic Crime Bill (PECO) 2014 prepared / drafted through the input of the Ministry, all stakeholders and law enforcing agencies is being presented shortly for approval.
Chairman Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Dr Ismail Shah said that Telecom companies have been directed to verify 103 million SIMs in 90 days through the Biometric Verification System (BVS). However, SIMs in use for the last two years by a subscriber would not be blocked. He further said that Pakistan is the only country in the world where SIMs are being issued through BVS. The Committee recommended introducing mobile BVS to facilitate consumers in getting their SIMs verified. The PTA chairman seconded the idea and said that the proposal has already been shared with CMOs.
In order to resolve the issue of unauthorised SIMs (due to identity theft), it was decided to deploy BVS at sale channels of CMOs for issuance of SIMs. A Joint Working Group (JWG), constituted by Ministry of Interior, comprising members from MoIT, MoI, NADRA, FIA, IB, CMOs and PTA, finalised modalities of the new system which has been successfully implemented on all sale channels of CMOs (approximately 70,000) across the country with effect from August 1, 2014.
Chairman PTA further said that 31.81 million SIMs have been regularized while 20.15 million issued in pre-BVS era have been blocked and can only be re-activated after successful biometric verification. According to him: SIMs activated in pre-BVS era (no activity), 3.14 million SIMs blocked; SIMs activated in pre-BVS era (one activity), 2. 02 million SIMs blocked; total SIMs with no activity in last 18 months 14.99 million blocked.
PTA chairman further said that a policy direction, in accordance with section 8 (2) of Act be issued by Azad Jammu Kashmir &Gilgit Baltistan councils to enable PTA to proceed further in the matter on receipt of Policy Directives for auction for 3G/4G spectrum auction.
Information Minister Pervez Rasheed informed the committee that earlier objections were raised on spectrum auction (3G) process through a point of order in the Senate of Pakistan; however, later international consultants were hired for the process and all rules and regulations were duly followed. Therefore, reservations were addressed and sought the Committee’s consent to dispose of the issue; and the body disposed of the matter accordingly.
Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed said that the country is facing serious cyber crimes threats in absence of any law. He urged the government to consider seriously the National Cyber Security Council Bill 2014 moved by him. The Ministry assured him that his input would be incorporated in the upcoming bill. The committee made a sub-committee to discuss “the Protection of Cyber Crimes Bill 2014” moved by Senator Karim Ahmad Khawaja.
via Business Recorder