IT Ministry Discards Controversial e-Safety Bill

The Ministry of IT and Telecommunication has discarded the controversial e-Safety Bill, according to sources inside the ministry. The ministry has halted all efforts related to the bill and has even taken down its details from the official website.

Sources disclosed that while the E-Safety Bill received conditional approval for its preparation, the Cabinet did not grant it overall approval. Despite being hastily drafted as an emergency measure, the proposed bill was filled with numerous flaws.

Officials from the Ministry of IT and Telecom clarified that both the e-Safety Bill and the Data Protection Bill have lost their purpose after the dissolution of the National Assembly.

The extensively consulted-upon Personal Data Protection Bill, which had received preliminary approval from the cabinet, is anticipated to be revisited and potentially approved with modifications by the new cabinet following the elections.

The hurried formulation of the e-Safety Bill raised concerns among stakeholders who were not consulted during its drafting, particularly due to its focus on establishing a new authority. The officials stated that the incoming government might opt to redraft the bill from scratch, ensuring the engagement of all stakeholders.

In late July, the preceding Cabinet granted conditional approval to both the e-Safety Bill and the Personal Data Protection Bill. The Ministry of IT and Telecom subsequently made the e-Safety Bill available on its website, encouraging feedback from the public and stakeholders. However, the bill was unexpectedly removed from the site shortly thereafter.

In early August, an international coalition comprising global internet corporations penned a letter to the Prime Minister expressing reservations about the proposed E-Safety and Data Protection Bills. The Asia Internet Coalition recommended an inclusive consultation process for both bills, along with amendments to the PECA Act.