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Pakistan mulls cyber security bill to keep NSA at bay

Calls for founding of National Cyber Security Council

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Pakistan’s Upper House this week began debating a new bill seeking to establish a National Cyber Security Council, an agency the nation feels is needed in the wake of Edward Snowden's myriad revelations about NSA surveillance.

The Cyber Security Council Bill 2014 was presented by Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed on Monday with the aim of creating a body to draft policy, guidelines and strategy on cyber security issues according to international best practices, in line with Pakistan Today.

As well as working to counter emerging online threats, it will also try to facilitate better communication and information-sharing between government and private sectors. To help achieve this, members of the proposed council would apparently be drawn from both sectors.

There’s very little information on the proposals on the Senate web site, but Pakistan Today has the following from Sayed:

Given the clear and present danger of threat to Pakistan’s national security related to cyber warfare, as demonstrated by revelations of intrusion into privacy and spying by overseas intelligence networks, and given the context that cyber warfare is currently being weighed actively in the region where Pakistan is located, it is imperative that Pakistan take institutional steps to combat this threat.

Pakistan’s security concerns, of course, are not limited to possible NSA spying. Hacktivists purportedly from the Islamic republic frequently trade online attacks with those from arch rival India, and occasionally further afield.

While lawmakers in Islamabad talk about “major non-traditional, non-military threats the country is facing” from the likes of the US, they should also probably focus more scrutiny on their own government.

The latest Enemies of the Internet report from Reporters Without Borders called out the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) for its increasingly prolific attempts to blacklist URLs and filter web content.

YouTube is still blocked over 18 months after being taken offline in the republic after controversial video The Innocence of Muslims appeared on the site. ®

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