IT Ministry Finalizes Data Protection Bill with Fines Up to $2 Million

The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications is finalizing the Personal Data Protection Bill, devised to regulate the collection, processing, use, disclosure, and transfer of personal data and additionally provides a data protection mechanism including the offenses concerning the violation of data privacy rights of an individual.

The Ministry of Information, Technology, and Telecommunication had earlier finalized the “Personal Data Protection Bill, 2023”, proposing a fine that may extend to $2 million or an equivalent amount in Pakistani rupees for those who process or cause to be processed, disseminate or disclose personal data in violation of any of the provisions of the proposed legislation.

The federal government shall, by a Gazetted notification, establish a Commission for this Act, which shall be called the National Commission for Personal Data Protection (NCPDP) of Pakistan, within six months of the commencement of this Act.

Where a person collects, processes, stores, uses, and discloses data, it must respect the rights, freedoms, and dignity of an individual for matters connected therewith and ancillary thereto, says the Bill.

The Ministry has started the final round of consultation on the proposed legislation. This Bill is to lay out the modus operandi and ancillary details for the usage of personal data such as processing, collection, storage, and disclosure by government, organizations, and individuals for processing purposes because of necessary care, and obligations enunciated in this Bill.

It nourishes the environment of fair practices in the digital economy by offering legal protections in online transactions and the sharing of personal and sensitive information or data for personal, international e-commerce, and e-government services.

Keeping in view potential approaches, the Personal Data Protection Bill, of 2023 is enacted in line with a present patchwork of global and regional legislations on the protection of personal data to match common grounds and identify areas where different approaches tend to diverge.

Rapid technological advancement and enhanced use of internet services have digitized a wide range of economic, political, and social activities that have a transformational impact on the way businesses are conducted, and the interaction of people amongst themselves, as well as with the government, enterprises, and other stakeholders.

As early adopters of emerging technologies, children are also affected by the risks of the digital world, given their developmental vulnerabilities as they are “canaries in the coal mine for threats to us all.” Therefore, the Data Protection Bill, of 2023 ensures to afford extra protection for children, concerning their data.

Fostering trust online is a fundamental challenge to ensure that the opportunities emerging out of the economy can be fully leveraged. As the global economy shifts to connected information space, its central component is personal data that drives online cross-border commercial activity, the flow of which may affect individuals, businesses, and government.

This Bill ensures that any personal data shall be collected only by lawful, fair, and consensual means from an individual and must be used or disclosed for the purposes for which the data were collected or any other directly related purpose.

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