After calls from many important Jordanian internet news publishing organizations, the Center for Defending Freedom of Journalists مركز حماية وحرية الصحفيين, human rights groups, media and legal activists, as well as individuals concerned with censorship issues and freedom of speech and expression, some important modifications have occurred to Jordan's new first-of-its-kind Information Systems Crime Law قانون جرائم انظمة المعلومات summarized in this Aramram Feature.
Filling a Legal Vacuum
Prior to this piece of legislation, no law or legal framework had existed to specifically deal with “cyber crime”, including issues relating to child pornography, exploitation of mentally or emotionally disabled persons, and spreading of information designed to harm Jordanian economic and political interests.
The initial framework was intended to create a legal basis for dealing with all issues related to criminal activity specifically based on the web. However, civil watchdog groups reacted to the initial powers granted by the first draft (such as search of premises and computers without a warrant) and demanded clarifications so that the newly created powers would not be misconstrued and misused to target news sites and the free expression of ideas.
Full Spectrum Reactions
Reactions to the new law have been mixed. Some see it as a step backwards, such as this Aramram user writing as Anti-7afartalism, commenting on the Aramram site regarding the above video:
hadi el qawaneen el jdeede 7atat el urdunn fee qa2emet el dowal el mota5alefe o a3da2 el internet b3d ma innu el urdun mn asr3 edwal ele intshar el internet feha o atwal shari3 lal internet cafe kan 3ala ginis ….y3ni el wa7ad badal ma yitawrr 3m berja3 la wara o hai el fdee7a weslat lal Washington Post !!! la2eno el urdun m3roof 3nha inha the most free arab country fa keef beseer hada el 7aki!!!
However after the adjustments, others are waiting to see and spreading news of the ammendments via twitter. noor JoJo (nrbi2) tweets:
abeeryarmouk also tweets:
http://bit.ly/bDuLb9 الأردن/ نقيب المحامين : تعديلات قانون جرائم انظمة المعلومات انهت الجدل الدائر حوله
and SamirKassireyes tweets:
الحكومة الاردنية تعدّل قانون “جرائم أنظمة المعلومات” بعد انتقادات وضغوط محلية http://www.skeyesmedia.org/?mode=newsdetails&id=2283
Government response to Criticism and Pressure
Some see the receptiveness of the government to creating changes in the law in reaction to activism as a positive step in building relations between the internet community and the law. Blogging on Jordanoholic.com, Rani Dababneh writes:
In reference to [Jordanian Bloggers Meet the Minister of ICT on first Cyber Crime draft Law in Jordan], we got notified that Cabinet approved the Information Systems Crime Law of 2010 on
Aug 3, which will take effect after 30 days of issuance. Information Systems / Cyber Crime Law, and Reasons Thereof are below in Arabic: [English Version will be provided soon]
UPDATE: Jordan Government, on August 29, endorsed the final draft of the Information Systems Crime Law (Cyber Crime Law) after ammending several parts of the legislation that drew controversy and criticism from various human rights and media activists.
From his blog at Osamaa.com, Osama Romoh أسامة الرمح also shares the view that the government's inclusion of bloggers in the process and their willingness to listen to the concerns of civil liberties groups is a positive step. He writes:
في نقطة رابحة تُضاف إلى رصيد المدوّنين الأردنيين والمدونات الأردنية للإعتراف الرسمي بهم، قامت وزارة الاتصالات وتكنولوجيا المعلومات بإشراك عدد من المدونين في مناقشة مسودّة قانون الجرائم الالكترونية
The blog Radical Justice العدالة الراديكالية carries the full text of the final version of the new law as well as the specifics of the changes that were called for by public pressure.