Global tech dirks Facebook and google seek Pakistani PM Imran Khan support

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Global tech dirks Facebook and google seek Pakistani PM Imran Khan support

*Karachi) Global technology firms have sought Prime Minister Imran Khan's support to ensure that critical changes are made to the newly approved social media rules, making it difficult for the companies to continue their services in Pakistan, Dawn reported.*

The new rules titled “Removal and Blocking of Unlawful Online Content (Procedure, Oversight and Safeguards) Rules 2020” have been published in official gazette under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016 (Peca).

In a 13-page letter by the Asia Internet Coalition (AIC), it called the government to initiate a consultation process through which AIC members can provide positive input and address crucial issues such as internationally-recognised rights to individual expression and privacy.

The AIC stated that during meetings with AIC and its member companies, the PTA had committed to share a draft copy of the rules, but the rules were recently updated by the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication on its website.

It said the rules were finalised without explanation or due process and lacks credibility and transparency.

The AIC letter stated, “Industry stakeholders have therefore lost trust in the consultation process, because it is neither credible nor transparent.” It added that instead of clarifying the scope of the powers given to the PTA, these rules created confusion for both users and online platforms in Pakistan.

The tech giants, including Facebook and Google, maintained that large portions of the rules were not only unworkable for global internet platforms, but also went beyond the scope of the Parent Act (Peca 2016), putting their legality into question.