The freedom of speech and expression is a basis of modern democracy. Guaranteeing anyone to talk their honest opinions is essential for the development of the society. On the other hand, there are many words potentially hurting others. If you violate other person’s life or dignity with your words, your speech will no more be respected.
Thus, freedom of speech and social security are often conflicting. Many developed countries have established some legislation restricting the right of free expression. Child porn is prohibited in most countries. Hate speech is explicitly forbidden and often deserves to punishment in some countries.
Regarding in the cyber space, this issue is still under-constructing. The governments are eager to prevent any cyber-crimes, including agitating others on the internet and encouraging other people to commit violence. To track risky pathway to crimes, regular censorship is necessary. In the US, the FBI made efforts to read the data encrypted in an iPhone possessed by a terror suspect. But, Apple refused to collaborate with FBI for restoring the data on the iPhone, because it would threaten other users’ privacy.
My past entry: Apple reject the order of FBI to unlock an iPhone
In Pakistan, new legislation was established recently. Pakistan Electronic Cybercrime Bill was approved in the diet, to be planned to be enforced.
According to the writer of this article below, this new law is potentially dangerous. The government will be able to arrest many citizens who had only used the internet. The author seems to worry that contents on the internet are subjected to censorship. And the subject of regulation is quite vaguely defined in the law.
International Business Times: Pakistan’s new cyber-security law could make bloggers, writers, and even readers criminals
The expression on this article is a little provocative. I understand the concern of the author. But I am not sure if the Pakistani government has an attention to supervising the behaviors of citizens using this law. It is not because I have not read the whole articles of the law, but because I am not familiar with the current situation of Pakistan. What to the extent some legislation is arbitrarily utilized by the authority highly depends on the policy of the government.
In Japan, State Secrecy Law was enforced in 2014. Some people criticized it for the possibility of abusing the regulation by the government. However, there has been nobody arrested for violating the law so far, for my best knowledge. If the government had certainly intended to eliminate persons against the government with this law, as some people were afraid, some journalists and activists would have been subjected to the legislation soon after the enforcement, despite I never say there is no risk in the future.
It is difficult to balance the freedom of speech and keep the society secure. We should be aware that privacy is easily sacrificed in the name of public safety. On the other hand, minimal regulation against extreme and risky ideas may be unavoidable. I hope Pakistan will not be biased between these two values.