The cabinet has approved the draft of Digital Security Act 2018 while keeping the provision for jail and fines on Monday.
If the draft is passed in the parliament, sections 54, 55, 56, 57 and 66 of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Act will be repealed. The approval came from a cabinet meeting held at the Prime Minister's Office on Monday.
Later in the afternoon, the details were revealed to the journalists in a press meeting held in the Secretariat by Cabinet Secretary Shafiul Alam.
When questioned regarding the viability of the law, the secretary replied: “The increase in cyber crimes and the theft of Bangladesh Bank reserves have necessitated the formulation of such a law. We had no such law to fight cyber crimes. This law will now allow for the punishment of committing these crimes.”
He added: “The law also includes the definition of 'digital', the creation of digital forensic labs and an emergency response team and the introduction of an 11 member digital security council chaired by the prime minister. Sections 17 to 38 detail the punishments for different crimes.”
He also said: “If someone changes or destroys the source code of someone's computer, he/she will be charged with three years in jail or Tk3 lakh fine or both.”
The cabinet secretary denied any allegations that the section 57 of the ICT Act has returned as the section 32 of Digital Security Act.
Section 62 says that sections 54, 55, 56, 57 and 66 of the ICT Act have been eradicated completely.
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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and members of the Cabinet discuss the Digital Security Act during a weekly meeting on Monday; January 29. 2018 Focus Bangla
When asked about the definition of “religious sentiments”, Shafiul Alam said, “The definition provided in the penal code will be implemented here.”
In section 54 (1), it has been said that the crimes falling under sections 17, 19, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, 28, 30, 31, 32 and 34 are non-bailable offenses.
But the section 54 (2) says that the crimes falling under sections 20, 25, 29 and 48 are bailable offenses.
The cabinet secretary assured that the Digital Security Act is not designed to target journalists.
Meanwhile, the proceedings concerning the cases that are still active under Section 57 will continue accordingly. However, the verdict provided by the court will be the final verdict as there will be no law to adhere to.