Govt approves National Cyber Security Policy 2023

Published On: August 9, 2023 08:00 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

The first law in its segment is expected to address growing issues related to hacking, phishing, bullying, and unsafe internet use, among others

KATHMANDU, Aug 9: Nepal has got its first law against cybercrime with the Cabinet meeting endorsing the National Cyber Security Policy 2023 on Tuesday.  

Rekha Sharma, spokesperson for the government and the Minister for Communication and Information Technology, informed reporters that the cabinet meeting approved the policy. According to her, the policy talks about the future strategy, working guidelines, objectives and plans related to cyber security.

One of the key features of the policy is that it maintains forming secure cyberspace for the users. It has also assessed the status and background of cyber security till date, along with developing the framework for a way forward.

“It incorporates details about the existing internet status in the country and vision, mission, objectives, strategy and work plans related to secure cyberspace in the system of the government, private and non-government offices,” said Netra Prasad Subedi, spokesperson for the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology.  

Subedi said that the policy will also address the required structure for cyber security, capacity development and data protection, among others. He added that the policy envisioned forming a separate entity ‘Cyber Security Center’ to make the related work effective.

In the absence of related laws, the cases of violence through the digital platform are on the rise. The records with the Nepal Police show that the number of cyber-bullies had surged since 2014.

The cases of data breaching of e-commerce business, internet service providers, Central Library, hacks of ATM system and social media and cyber-bullying have been reported for the last few years due to the loopholes in the cyber security system in Nepal. In addition, there are a number of cases in which the government offices go functionless due to hacking of data.

In the absence of related laws, the cases of cybercrimes are being handled under the Electronic Transaction Act 2008. Since the past few years, an expert group named Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) under the Department of Information Technology has been dealing with cyber security threats like hacking and phishing. 

The newly formed policy is expected to address the issues related to the legal structure and process of the cyber security sector. The stakeholders have been pushing the government to incorporate arrangement of key responsible agencies and resources for policy execution, embracing the key assumptions of open and safe internet, individual privacy, credibility, neutrality, accountability, interoperability and partnership, and adopting the multi-stakeholder approach in the policy.

For this purpose, the government in March 2023 formed a high-level panel to prepare a report to draft a cyber security policy. The panel was led by Juddha Bahadur Gurung, an expert on information technology, and included Baburam Dawadi, Saroj Lamichhane, Mona Nyachho, Prakash Rayamajhi and Bijay Gautam. The panel also included experts from Nepal Police and the Nepalese Army as members while a representative from the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology assumed the position of member secretary.

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