Islamabad : The federal cabinet on Tuesday approved the Cloud First Policy and the Personal Data Protection Bill to ensure the privacy of online data, which were deemed crucial to enter the digital world.

The Cloud First Policy has listed five classes of data, which include open data in the public sector to make the government open and accountable, and increase citizen participation.

The other one is public data related to the public sector that is non-confidential and is publicly available.

It is followed by restricted data related to public sector businesses, operations and services, which is not sensitive in nature.

Another type is confidential data, which is the information not intended to be published, and it can be accessed only by certain group of people having proper authorization and which justifies modern protective measures.

The last one is secret that is the information that requires the highest level of protection from serious threats, and its breach can pose a threat to life or public security, cause financial losses, serious damage to public interests, etc. 

Referring to details of Cloud First Policy, Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Syed Aminul Haque said that it would help develop a common platform for all public sector departments, as maintaining data caused serious financial spending and at time it became difficult for the departments to manage their data.

The minister underlined that the developed countries had a collective cloud service for their governments to secure their official data and make it manageable.

''After the law is approved, the data centres of federal ministries and departments will be shifted to the central ' Cloud ' and it will help reduce government expenditure, enhance data protection and increase the efficiency of online activities and services,'' the minister said in a statement.

The cloud policy highlighted that the federal government had around 40 divisions and more than 600 affiliated departments, while there were numerous provincial ministries and their affiliated departments in the country.

'' Pakistan is undergoing a digital revolution and has taken numerous initiatives for the provision of ICT [ information and communication technology] - based solutions,'' the policy stated.

It highlighted the need to establish a ' Cloud Board ' comprising IT secretary as chairman, chief secretaries of the four provinces and two IT experts.

The ' Cloud Office ' will oversee the accreditation, quality and security and departmental IT affairs of cloud service providers.with the required capabilities and equipment.

On the other hand, the Personal Data Protection Bill, also approved by the cabinet, will ensure the protection of online data, information and privacy of Pakistani citizens.

The minister said that the aim of the Personal Data Protection Bill was to ensure national security and the protection of online data and personal information of ordinary students / citizens including the business community.

The bill has been the demand of various sections of the society including the civil society that all relevant public and private institutions need to ensure that their data, services, ICT products and systems are in line with the cyber security requirements.

The World Students Society thanks author Zafar Bhutta.


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