Electronic Data Protection Act 2005
Electronic Data Protection Act 2005 (download PDF format)
ELECTRONIC DATA PROTECTION ACT 2005
An Act to provide for protection to electronic data with regard to the processing of
electronic data in Pakistan
Whereas it is expedient to provide for the processing of electronic data
while respecting the rights, freedom and dignity of natural and legal persons, with special
regard to their right to privacy, secrecy and personal identity and for matters connected
therewith and ancillary thereto;
Now therefore it is enacted as follows:
1. Short title, extent and commencement.
(1) This Act may be called the
Electronic Data Protection Act 2005.
(2) It extends to the whole of Pakistan and shall apply to the processing of electronic data
which is collected or takes place within Pakistan, regardless of the location of the data
processor or data controller.
(3) It shall come into force at once.
In this Act, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject
(a) “blocking”, means the storage of electronic data while any other data processing
operation is temporarily suspended;
(b) “corporate data”, means any information relating to or owned by any person
including financial, legal and business processes;
(c) “data controller”, means the individual or person, who determines the purposes
and means of the processing of electronic data, including security issues;
(d) “data filing system”, means any set of data structured according to several specific
criteria suitable to ease their processing, composed of one or more units, in one or
more physical locations;
(e) “data operator”, means an individual employed by data processor for the
processing of electronic data;
(f) “data processor”, means the individual or person, who rocesses electronic data on
behalf of a data controller;
(g) “data subject”, means the individual or person to whom the electronic data are
(h) “disclosure”, means the act of making electronic data known to one or more
specified individual or person, excluding the data subject himself, by any means;
(i) “dissemination”, means the act of making electronic data known to unspecified
individuals or persons, by any means;
(j) “electronic data” means any information which is being processed by means of
any information system, is recorded with the intention that it should be processed by
means of such information system, or is recorded as part of a relevant data filing
system or with the intention that it should form part of a relevant data filing system
and includes personal, corporate, foreign and local data;
Explanation.—The words “information” and “information system” used in sub-
clause (k) shall have the same meaning as defined in the Electronic Transaction
Ordinance 2002 (LI of 2002);
(k) “federal government” means the federal government of Pakistan;
(l) “foreign data” means both personal and corporate data collected outside Pakistan
and sent to Pakistan for processing purpose only;
(m) “individual” means natural person;
(n) “local data” means both personal and corporate data collected within Pakistan for
processing within or outside Pakistan;
(o) “person” includes an authority, trust, waqf, association, statutory body, firm,
company including joint venture or consortium, or any other entity whether registered
(p) “personal data”, means any information relating to an individual, identified or
identifiable, directly or indirectly by reference to any other information;
(q) “processing”, means any operation or set of operations, whether or not performed
by an information system, which involves collection, recording, organization, storage,
adaptation or alteration, retrieval, use, alignment or combination, blocking, disclosure
by transmission, dissemination, erasure or destruction of the data;
(r) “prescribed” means prescribed by rules made under this Act;
(s) “Rules” means rules made under this Act; and
(t) “sensitive data” means data revealing racial or ethnic origin, religious,
philosophical or other beliefs, political opinions, membership in political parties,
trade unions, organizations and associations with a religious, philosophical, political
or trade-union, or provide information as to the health or sexual life of an individual
and financial, or proprietary confidential corporate data.
3. Manual and personal data
(1) The processing of personal or
corporate data which are not performed by any information system or other automated
means shall not be subject to the provisions of this Act unless the manual data is collected
for the purpose of converting it into electronic data.
(2) The processing of personal data by an individual in the course of a purely personal
activity or household and family purposes shall not be subject to the provisions of this
Act, provided that the personal data are not intended to be systematically disclosed or to
4. Government activity and exemptions
(1) This Act does not apply to
the processing of personal or corporate data carried out by federal, provincial or local
(2) The federal government, in respect of local data only, by notification in the official
gazette, may exempt any public or private sector, entity or business from the operation of
PROCESSING OF FOREIGN AND LOCAL DATA
5. Data processor and data operators
(1) The data processor shall
perform the data processing in the prescribed manner and according to the instructions
received from the data controller unless it contravenes any law.
(2) Data operators shall act on the foreign or local data, as the case may be, to which they
have access only according to the instructions of the data processor.
Processing of foreign or local data, as the case may be,
(a) done fairly and lawfully; and
(b) stored for specified, explicit and lawful purposes.
7. Collection of local data
Local data that are subject to data processing
(a) collected with due diligence, fairly and lawfully;
(b) collected and stored for specified, explicit and lawful purposes;
(c) adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the purposes for which it is
collected or processed; and
(d) processed in accordance with the rights of the data subject and, when necessary,
kept up to date.
8. Information to data subject
(1) Data subject, any other individual or
person from whom the local data is collected shall be given, prior to the collection and in
writing, the following information:
(a) the purposes and means of the processing;
(b) whether replies to the questions are obligatory or voluntary;
(c) the possible consequences of failure to reply;
(d) the recipients or categories of recipients to whom data may be disclosed, and the
limit of data dissemination;
(e) the existence of his rights; and
(f) the name or trade name, and the address of the data controller and, if designated,
of the data processor.
(2) Some or all of the information described in Sub-section 1 may be omitted when it is
already known to the person from whom the data is collected.
(3) Where the data have not been obtained from the data subject, the information
described in Sub-section 1 shall be provided to the data subject at the time of undertaking
the recording of the personal data or, if a disclosure is intended, no later than the time
when the data is first disclosed.
DATA SUBJECT'S RIGHTS
It would be the sole responsibility of the data controller to
obtain the consent of the data subject, if required, whose electronic data shall be
processed within Pakistan.
10. Rights of foreign Data Subjects
Data subjects shall have all their
rights, if any provided under the laws of the country or territory where the foreign data
has been collected or data subject resides, only against data controller including
confirmation as to existence of, access to, updating or rectification of their foreign data and objection to any or all operations involving the processing of foreign data and its
intended purpose and will not deal directly with the data processor within Pakistan unless
otherwise agreed between the data controller and data processor.
ELECTRONIC DATA SECURITY
11. Electronic data security
(1) Electronic data that is subject to data
processing shall be kept under custody, controlled or processed in such a way as to
minimize the risks of its destruction or loss, even accidental, unauthorized access,
unlawful processing or processing for purposes other than those for which the electronic
data were collected, by means of appropriate precautionary security measures.
(2) The minimal precautionary security measures shall be as prescribed.
12. End of data processing
(1) Before ending the processing of electronic
data, for any reason, the data processor shall notify the data controller of its fate.
(2) The electronic data can be:
(a) destroyed; or
(b) returned to data controller.
DISCLOSURE AND DISSEMINATION
13. Data operators
The act of making electronic data known to data
operators appointed by the data processor, in writing, to perform the operations related to
the processing, and acting directly on his behalf, shall not be considered disclosure and
dissemination subject to such limitation as may be agreed upon between data controller
and data processor.
14. Data disclosure
The disclosure and dissemination of personal or
corporate data shall be permitted:
(a) by the data processor, when the data controller has explicitly given his consent or
as provided in the contract with data controller;
(b) by data controller or data processor,—
(i) when it is performed under an obligation by national, provincial or local
(ii) when necessary for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims
(iii) when requested by any relevant government authority for purposes of
national security or prevention, investigation, detection and prosecution of
criminal activities; and
(iv) as may be prescribed.
15. Sensitive data
(1) The processing of Sensitive Data shall be conducted
in such a way as to minimize the risks of unauthorized access or use, by means of
appropriate precautionary security measures.
(2) The minimal precautionary security measures for the sensitive data shall be as
16. Transfer of local data abroad
Transfer of local data to any territory
outside Pakistan shall only be carried out in the prescribed manner.
17. Powers and functions of federal government
(1) The federal
government shall have the following powers and functions to,
(a) prepare and encourage the drawing up of suitable codes of conduct and ethics by
(b) verify the compliance of such codes with applicable laws;
(c) seek views of data controllers and data processors on any matter related to
(d) contribute to the publicity and enforcement of such codes;
(e) interact and cooperate with international and region