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PA approves ‘Electronic Crimes Law’ despite severe criticism

A person coding on a laptop [File photo]
[File photo]

The Palestinian Authority approved on Tuesday the “Electronic Crimes Law”, despite severe criticism from local and international rights groups, Quds Press has reported. The PA said that the law identifies the “duties” of electronic services providers to help the “specialised” parties to disclose online criminal activity.

The statement from the authority also said that the new legislation identifies the role of the state and its institutions in relation to implementing the law. There is provision to enable the PA to cooperate with other countries to fight online crime and its outcomes.

#FBFightsPalestine - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

#FBFightsPalestine – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

In response to the criticism of the rights groups, the Ramallah-based government reiterated its keenness to protect freedoms based on its legal terms and constitution. It stressed respect for the fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the Palestinian Basic Law.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas issued the Electronic Crimes Bill in July 2017, prompting an escalation in the crackdown on Palestinian journalists and social media activists. Amnesty International described the law as a “dangerous escalation in attacks on freedom of expression.”

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Following protests by Palestinian NGOs, the PA modified the bill and cancelled the stipulations for the detention, sentencing and fining of those who criticise the authority.

It is said that the PA has agreed to guarantee the protection of data provided by the electronic service providers.

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