Pakistan has seen a 50% spike in Facebook related complaints with most of the victims being women, authorities said today. The Federal investigation Agency (FIA) said there has been a phenomenal increase in cybercrime complaints and without a “relevant law” it is facing problems to deal with them. “In Punjab alone we received 2,100 Facebook-related complaints such as fake ID, uploading of obscene pictures, hacking of the account and threatening messages last year. We have received more than 1,600 complaints by mid of this year. Same is the situation in other stations as well,” FIA Lahore Cyber Crime Wing head Shahid Hasan said. Also Read - Facebook smartwatch to feature cameras alongside fitness functions: Yes, detachable cameras!Also Read - What happens to your Facebook account after you die?
He said most of the complaints are from women whose ID’s were either hacked or obscene pictures were loaded from their fake IDs. “We have only one law — Electronic Crime Ordinance which hardly covers any crime in the cyberworld — thus we are having problems in getting suspects convicted,” he said. Hasan further said Pakistan desperately needs cybercrime law to deal with crimes in the cyber world. The FIA said it was awaiting the passage of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill 2015, commonly known as cybercrime bill, from the Senate to deal with cybercrimes.
“The new law will help it check ever-rising cybercrime such as cyberstalking, fake and stolen identities on Facebook, Twitter and other social media links,” he said. The proposed cybercrime bill criminalizes activities such as sending text messages without the receiver’s consent or criticizing government actions on social media with heavy fines and long-term imprisonment. Online criticism of religion, the country, its courts, and the armed forces are among subjects which could invoke official intervention under the bill.
The civil society and some bloggers, however, were strongly opposing the cybercrime bill as an attempt to curb freedom of expression. They say the bill could be widely misused. Hasan, however, rejected the criticism. “Laws about blasphemy to theft are being misused in the country. But the new cybercrime law involves digital evidence to prove any offence. Therefore, the chances to use it against anyone to settle some score are minimal. There are at least seven digital footprints available for cross verification,” he said. The cyber crime bill is currently pending with the Senate.