Afghanistan en­acts law to con­trol cy­berspace

Kuwait Times - - TECHNOLOGY -

Afghanistan’s Pres­i­dent Ashraf Ghani has signed into law a cy­ber­crime bill tar­get­ing on­line crime and mil­i­tancy by groups such as the Tale­ban and Is­lamic State, of­fi­cials said yes­ter­day, amid con­cerns it could limit free speech. The Cy­ber Crime Law crim­i­nal­izes a range of on­line ac­tiv­i­ties in­clud­ing hack­ing, spread­ing eth­nic ha­tred, dis­tri­bu­tion of on­line defam­a­tory speech, ex­pos­ing gov­ern­ment se­crets, and cy­ber-ter­ror­ism within the pro­vi­sions of the newly re­viewed pe­nal code. ‘The law has 28 ar­ti­cles and it is go­ing to con­trol all cy­ber­crimes. All crim­i­nals will be tracked and re­ferred to courts,’ Na­jib Nangyal a spokesman for the min­istry of com­mu­ni­ca­tion told AFP.

While much of Afghanistan re­mains deeply ru­ral, over 8.5 mil­lion Afghans are us­ing the in­ter­net in big cities such as Kabul, Herat and Mazar-i-Sharif, most of them vo­cal on so­cial me­dia such as Twit­ter and Face­book. The guer­rilla war waged by mil­i­tants and grisly video footage of war ca­su­al­ties, tor­ture, hostage vic­tims and destruc­tion com­pete daily with celebrity gossip and the lat­est sports news in Afghan on­line com­mu­ni­ties.

The Tale­ban, who pre­vi­ously re­jected all modern tech­nol­ogy, have de­vel­oped a me­di­asavvy on­line PR team us­ing Twit­ter, Face­book and the in­ter­net, post­ing state­ments, break­ing news of the lat­est at­tacks and tak­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity for as­saults, though their claims are of­ten wildly ex­ag­ger­ated. — AFP

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