Pakistan wants to send a message that it takes terrorism seriously&mdsah;even so-called cyber-terrorism. A new decree signed by Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari, the Prevention of Electronic Crimes law (PDF), makes causing death through any act of cyber-terrorism punishable by death.
According to a copy of the ordinance, “Whoever commits the offense of cyber-terrorism and causes death of any person shall be punishable with death or imprisonment for life, and with fine, and in any other case he shall be punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, or with fine not less than ten million rupees, or with both.”
The law is applicable to Pakistanis and foriegners, whether living in Pakistan or outside the country.
Definitions of a cyber-terrorist act outlined in the ordinance include both attempting and actually stealing or copying information about creating weapons of mass destruction.
Pakistan, is, of course, one of a growing handful of nuclear powers, and is on the front-line of the U.S.-led “war on terror” which has military and security forced pursuing Taliban and al Qaeda operatives in the northwest portion of the country, near the Afghanistan border.
The ordinance also outlines a number of other computer-related crimes, including breaking into sensitive military or government systems, online fraud, forgery, cyber-attacks, and mis-use of encryption.