Student Attorneys Examine Human Rights Challenges Posed by Pakistan’s E-Safety Bill

On behalf of our client Bolo Bhi—a leading digital rights organization in Pakistan—TLPC student attorneys Rina Mehana, Sophie Pickering, and Matt Engebretsen prepared a report raising serious concerns about the impacts of proposed E-Safety Legislation in Pakistan on the human and constitutional rights of the country’s citizens.

Approved in principle by Pakistan’s federal cabinet on July 26, 2023, the E-Safety Bill aims to regulate online platforms under the guise of promoting safety. However, TLPC’s report identifies significant human rights concerns with the bill—particularly with regard to freedom of expression and access to information. Our report uncovers various flaws with the bill that could undermine digital freedoms, including ambiguous language and provisions that reach far beyond what legitimate E-Safety regulation would target.

Our report was published by Bolo Bhi on its website and is available to download by clicking on the link below.

TLPC Publishes Report Documenting the Challenges of Regulating Election Disinformation in Pakistan

Led by student attorneys Sebastian Blitt, Madeline Finlayson, and Sarah Misché, the TLPC prepared a report on behalf of Bolo Bhi, a civil society organization based in Pakistan, discussing the challenges associated with regulating election disinformation in Pakistan ahead of the elections this February. Bolo Bhi published the report on its website on February 5—three days before the country’s general elections.

Although the spread of disinformation can cause serious harm, laws that seek to regulate disinformation can be misused to suppress legitimate political dissent and criticism. TLPC’s report analyzed both enacted legislation in Pakistan, including the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Bill, and proposed legislation, such as the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act Amendment. Each of these measures employs a broad and vague definition of disinformation, providing agencies of the Pakistani government a mechanism to remove unfavorable content, and to punish those who posted it. This raises special concerns regarding the rights of journalists and political dissidents engaging in political discourse leading up to the General Election on February 8.

The report finds that both the current and proposed measures fail to protect the right to free expression guaranteed in the Constitution of Pakistan and by international human rights law. Article 19 of the Constitution of Pakistan requires that restrictions on expression be reasonable, including being no more burdensome than necessary. Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights only permits restrictions on freedom of expression that are clearly provided by law and necessary to achieve narrow aims. The overbroad and vague definition of disinformation used in the various pieces of legislation that TLPC analyzed fails to meet either of these standards, and therefore imposes unreasonable restrictions on freedom of expression.

TLPC Files Comments in the Eighth Section 1201 Triennial Review

Today, the TLPC filed a series of comments in the Copyright Office’s Eighth Triennial Review of exemptions from the anticircumvention measures of Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Section 1201 prohibits the circumvention of technological protective measures (TPMs) that control access to copyrighted works, but allows stakeholders to apply for and receive broader temporary exemptions for a variety of noninfringing uses. The TLPC filed comments on four exemptions, one focused on security research and the other three on various accessibility purposes.

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TLPC and CIPPIC Samuelson-Glushko Clinics File OPC Comments for Privacy Researchers on the Regulation of Artificial Intelligence

(by Kelsey Fayer, Colorado Law 2L)

Today, the TLPC, in partnership with our sister Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) at the University of Ottawa, filed comments drafted by Prof. Margot Kaminski (Colorado Law) and Prof. Vivek Krishnamurthy (University of Ottowa) on behalf of a coalition of privacy researchers before the
Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC).

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