Govt. to bring new laws to combat online hate speech

Friday, 24 January 2020 00:18 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}



  •  New legal framework under National Cyber Security Strategy 
  • Legal Draftsman finalising proposed Cyber Security Act
  • Digital Infrastructure Protection Agency to be set up to implement strategy

The Defence Ministry is to introduce new laws to stop defamatory posts and comments on social media and also set up a mechanism for immediate removal of ethically and religiously sensitive posts that spread hatred via social media networks, it said in a statement yesterday. 

Defence Secretary Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Kamal Gunaratne

The new legal framework will be introduced under the National Cyber Security Strategy, which will be formulated soon to address emerging cybercrimes issues that pose a threat to the national security.

Defence Secretary Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Kamal Gunaratne has instructed the officials of Sri Lanka Computer Emergency Readiness Team (SLCERT) to finalise drafting the proposed Cyber Security Act, which will establish a comprehensive framework for the prevention and management of cyber security threats and incidents effectively, and protection of critical information infrastructure.

At a meeting held yesterday at the BMICH, SLCERT officials said that the draft was handed over to the Legal Draftsman for final legal clarifications.

The law aims to tackle cybercrimes including credit card fraud, revenge porn, hacking and intellectual property theft and cybercrimes against Government and other organisations such as cyber terrorism, hacking of websites, processing of unauthorised information and hacking into sensitive financial data.

Maj. Gen. Gunaratne highlighted the importance of introducing the new mechanism to prevent spreading hate speech using popular social media networks.

SLCERT functioning under the purview of the Defence Ministry is an institution that works as the national level focal point on cyber security related issues.

Under the new mechanism the Digital Infrastructure Protection Agency (DIPA) will be set up as an apex body for all cyber security related affairs in the country. The DIPA is mandated to implement the National Information and Cyber Security Strategy.

SLCERT officials said cybercrimes against individuals and organisations are increasing rapidly as Sri Lanka lacks a proper legal and tracking system to bring culprits to book.

Information and Communication Technology Ministry Additional Secretary Waruna Dhanapala, SLCERT CEO Lal Dias, SLCERT Director Policy Dr. Kanishka Karunasena, Head of Operation Rohana Palliyaguru and Committee Member Manori Unambuwa were present at the meeting.