Afghanistan enacts law to control cyberspace
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