ISLAMABAD: The government is exploring options for obtaining market access for Pakistani information and communications technology (ICT) companies in Chinese market under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
“There is need to explore possibilities for using Pakistan’s position in region to make Pakistan a cloud regional hub in collaboration with Chinese counterparts on Cloud initiatives,” a PM’s advisory council meeting on IT and Digital Economy on Friday stated.
“There is also need of facilitating Chinese IT Companies to establish offices in Pakistan,” it added.
The meeting discussed Personal Data Protection Bill (PDPB), 2022 which is to govern collection, processing, use and disclosure of personal data and to establish and making provisions about offenses relating to violation of the right to data privacy of individuals by collecting, obtaining or processing of personal data by any means.
The objective of the PDPB is to protect the data of Pakistani citizens so that unauthorised leakage of personal data is stopped. It imposes obligations onto data controllers and data processors along with penalties in case of data breaches.
According to the bill, “Data Subject” means a natural person who is the subject of the personal data. “Data Controller” means a natural or legal person or the government, who either alone or jointly has the authority to make a decision on the collection, obtaining, usage or disclosure of personal data.
“Data Processor” means a natural or legal person or the government who alone or in conjunction with other(s) processes data on behalf of the data controller.
The bill will be holding both public and private data controllers responsible in case of any data breaches. It extends to the whole of Pakistan.
It shall come into force not falling beyond two years from the date of its promulgation as the federal government may determine through a notification in the official gazette providing at least three months’ advance notice of the effective date.
The bill addresses key areas pertaining to protection of personal data are; definitions of sensitive and critical personal data, scope, security requirements, cross-border data management framework, roles and obligations of data controllers and data processors, rights of data subjects, and breach notifications.
It also addresses processing of sensitive and critical personal data, funds management, automated processing including profiling, complaints and penalties, rules and regulations establishment and powers of the commission and exemptions, etc.
The commission will have the authority to make rules and regulations according to the bill regarding powers and performance of its functions, internal working, appointment, promotion, termination and terms and condition of its employees etc.
Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MoITT) prepared the initial draft of the bill and uploaded it on ministry’s website in second week of April, 2020 for stakeholders’ (both local and international) feedback.
A total of 61 entities provided their feedback which was compiled. After analysis of the feedback, consultation sessions were held with over 100 companies and the draft of bill was updated after the consultation sessions.
IT minister Syed Amin-Ul-Haque has said that for enhancement of the country’s digital economy, it’s necessary to solve problems of the IT and Telecom industry and give them maximum relief.
The ministry of IT and telecom constitutes three committees for IT export, personal data protection and telecom sector growth. The committees will finalise their recommendations in a week time, which will be presented to the PM who is the chairman of the advisory council.
The advisory council stressed the need for consistency in government policies to attract local and international investors, saying that industry and investors become uncertain due to the changing situations, which hurts efforts to promote the digital economy.
Agreeing, Haque said the purpose to constitute the advisory council was to formulate workable proposals to address issues of IT and telecom industry, make the industry more functional in the national economy.