The government is making a new law to tackle cyber crimes with a maximum punishment of 14 years in jail for offenders. Law Minister Anisul Huq told reporters on Sunday.
“Cyber crimes will be the most significant offence in the coming days,” he said. Huq had a meeting with officials of his ministry on Sunday over the draft of the new law.
He told the media the new law also stipulates formation of a committee headed by the prime minister, he added. Incidents of cyber crimes in Bangladesh are rising as the country’s internet penetration is increasing.
The ICT Act addresses the issue, but has also attracted criticism, especially its Section 57, which critics say effectively muzzles the freedom of speech and expression. Section 57 of the law criminalises ‘publishing fake, obscene or defaming information in electronic form.’
Offence under this provision of the ICT Act is punishable by at least seven years in prison and 14 years’ imprisonment at the most. Fine can be as high as Tk 10 million.
The law was passed in 2006 and amended twice in 2009 and 2013. In the last amendment, offence under the Section 57 was made non-bailable and the maximum penalty was extended to 14-year imprisonment.
State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak, who attended Sunday’s meeting, said the law will address the issues in a ‘clearer manner’. “The offences stipulated in Section 57 of ICT Act are defined more precisely in the new law,” he said. The minister added that the proposed law allows the setting up of a digital forensic lab, according to bdnews24.com. -Mithun