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Cyber Security Bill placed in parliament amid strong objection

The much-talked about Cyber Security Bill-2023 was placed in parliament on Tuesday amid strong objection from an opposition bench member.

The new law is being framed scrapping the controversial Digital Security Act (DSA). However, the controversial sections of the DSA have been kept same in the Cyber Security Act (CSA). However, offences in some cases of the new bill have been lowered.

It proposes non-bailable offences under its four sections.

State Minister for ICT Division Zunaid Ahmed Palak placed the Bill in the House which was later sent to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the ICT Ministry for scrutiny. At that time, Jatiya Party’s MP Fakhrul Imam lodged strong objection against placing the Bill in parliament.

The offences are related to intrusion into key information infrastructures, damaging computers and computer systems, cyber-terrorist activities, and hacking-related crimes.

The Cyber Security Bill has been prepared to replace the existing Digital Security Act, 2018, which drew criticism from home and abroad.

According to the provisions of the proposed law, offences under its four sections are non-bailable while those under the remaining sections are bailable.

The intrusion into important information infrastructures and others has been covered in section 17, damaging computers and computer systems in section 19, cyber-terrorist acts and committing such crimes in section 27, and hacking-related crimes in section-33.

The trial of the cases that have been filed already will continue under the Digital Security Act as per a provision in the proposed law.

Sections 17-33 of the Cyber Security Bill deal with the offences and punishment provisions.

Quoting from different newspaper reports, JP MP Fakhrul Imam said the stakeholders raised objections aganst the bill. Though offences have been lowered, there is no basic difference between the DSA and CSA. TIB said if the Cyber Security Bill is passed in such a manner, it would be regarded as a black law.

Fakhrul Imam said the freedom of expression and freedom of speech are the fundamental human rights. There were “ingredients” in the Digital Security Act to stop freedom of expression and freedom of press. Unfortunately, it remains as usual in the Cyber Security Act. Many consider it as an oppressive law.

In response, Zunayed Ahmed Palak said the proposed law is liberal and future-oriented.

He said risks in the cyber world are increasing with the increase of digital services.

Subsequently, the objection of Fakhrul Imam was rejected. Then the state minister for ICT placed the bill in parliament. It was later sent to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on ICT Ministry for scrutiny. The parliamentary body was asked to submit its report before the Jatiya Sangsad within five working days.