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Burmese parliament approves amendment to Electronic Transactions Law

The seventh regular Session of the Lower House approved a proposal to amend the Electronic Transactions Law on August 21, 2013.

The Law has a long list of offenses and imposes heavy penalties. Many political activists and student leaders were jailed for many years under this law. U Thein Nyut, MP of Thingankyun constituency, submitted a proposal on August 21, making a motion to make the law more humane and suitable to contemporary Myanmar by reducing punishments and amending some of the sections.

While submitting the proposal U Thien Nyut said, "We live in an era of IT advancements, as such the Electronic Transactions Law cannot be determined like a criminal procedure code. It is outdated and not appropriate anymore. The bill that has been submitted recommends amendment of heavy penalties."

U Thaung Tin, the Deputy Minister of Communications and Information Technology submitted a proposal on January 29, 2013 to abolish the Electronic Transactions Law and draft a new e-commerce law. The Parliament approved the amendment of the Electronic Transactions law and recommended that the amendment be carried in accordance with the current era before arriving to a new e-commerce law.

Deputy Minister U Thaung Tin explained on August 21 at the Lower House Parliament, "In accordance with the Parliament's recommendations, a Committee has been formed comprising experts from Ministries concerned, local entrepreneurs, IT experts and international IT and legal experts. They are drafting a new e-commerce law."

Blogger Nay Bone Hlat, who was jailed under the Electronic Transactions Law, said that the punishments and offenses under the law are ambivalent.

"The definition of electronic offense should be clear. Moreover, the law also imposes heavy penalties. The new law should be drafted with co-operation of IT expert who have good knowledge of electronic laws", Nay Bone Hlat told Mizzima.

The Electronic Transaction Law that is currently used was approved on 30 April, 2004.

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