AIC raises red flags over Pakistan's Data Protection Bill 2023 - Is it a threat to foreign internet companies?
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The Asia Internet Coalition (AIC), a group of digital media giants, has raised concerns over Pakistan’s Draft Data Protection Bill 2023, stating that the bill does not address the industry’s substantive concerns.

AIC Managing Director Jeff Paine expressed his worries in a letter addressed to Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Aminul Haque, stating that the bill’s current points would negatively impact Pakistan’s economy and severely impact the ability of foreign internet companies to trade with and operate in Pakistan.

Paine added that local Pakistani companies may lose access to cost-efficient global cloud services, making it less competitive, as they need substantial costs to operate and maintain servers.

The letter identified 16 core issues in the Bill, including stringent limitations on cross-border data flow and mandatory data localization, which will significantly impact Pakistan’s business environment and industry.

AIC has requested an industry meeting to clearly understand the issue and priorities that are important to consider from the Bill. In addition, they recommended reducing the requirement to store personal data on a data centre or a server in Pakistan under Section 30(1) of the Bill. The AIC appreciates the opportunity to provide feedback on the Draft Bill, but their concerns still need to be addressed.

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