September 10, 2018

Stakeholder Consultation on Draft information Technology Bill and Individual Privacy Bill Organized

Internet Society Nepal [ISOC Nepal] and Internet Governance Institute [IGI] organized a stakeholder consultation on draft information Technology Bill and Individual Privacy Bill at Hotel Himalaya, Kathmandu on 7 September 2018. Around 60 participants representing different sectors, including the government, civil society, academia, private sector, technical community, labor union participated in the program.

As the Chief Guest in the program, Mr. Mahindra Man Gurung, Secretary, Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Nepal Government, stressed that the government has drafted the bill with the intention of facilitating the IT Sector and that the government is open to consider the recommendations received through the consultation.

In the consultation meeting, Advocate Santosh Sigdel, President, Internet Society, made a presentation on major provisions and concerns on IT bill. Likewise, Advocate Semanta Dahal and Advocate Prabin Subedi made presentation on Individual Privacy Bill from the perspective of data protection and privacy. The Individual Privacy Bill is currently under consideration in a parliamentary committee. Mr. Umesh Raghuvanshi, Director, IGI, made a presentation on concerns relating to doing ICT business in Nepal, from the perspective of draft IT bill.

During the consultation, stakeholders urged the government to include the recommendations from the consultation in the bill, before its submission to the parliament. Further, stakeholders also suggested to address the issues relating to Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things (IOT). Representative of labor union asked the government to address the issues relating to IT labors in bill. Representatives of private sector pointed out the lack of provisions to promote IT Sectors in Nepal. Proposed provisions in the bill, such as additional procedural requirement of registration at DoIT, would negatively affect the foreign direct investment, they argued.

Mr. Birendra Mishra, Joint Secretary, MoCIT, Mr. Laxmi Narayan Yadav, Director General, Department of Information Technology, Mr. Sunil Kumar Shrestha, DIG, Nepal Police, Nepal Police, Mr. Khemraj Gyawali, Joint Attorney General, Office of Attorney General, Mr. Rajendra Thapa, Nepal Law Commission, Mr. Tara Nath Dahal, Executive Director, Freedom Forum, also expressed their opinions on draft bills in the program. Mr. Baburam Aryal, Director, IGI has moderated the program. Officials from the ministry and DoIT reassured that the recommendations from the stakeholders, to the extent possible, will be included in the draft IT bill before submitting it to the cabinet.

The Director of IGI, Senior Advocate Upendra Keshari Neupane concluded the program by summering the inputs with the promise of continuation of another event series of this Program.