Saturday, July 24, 2010

e-Transaction Law: Back to Square Zero

No Vision, No Commitment, No Hope ...

We invested too much work and effort hoping that the officials and their acolytes would give us a break. Since June 15, 2010 (the historic date when Speaker Berri postponed the Law) they were actually giving us signs of goodwill,
this led us to rest on our laurels naively believing that the battle has ended.
I do not understand the position of the political establishment who want to put in place at any price, control procedures in advance giving the ESSA a grip on the private sector operations.
By giving to the ESSA this prerogative, the law will once again discourages entrepreneurs and investors from
even thinking to invest in the country. It will push them to seek favorable environments that provide a platform for on-line services and Knowledge Industries.

Although we have been promised that all the remarks of the Private Sector will be taken into consideration, we discovered that there
is actually no will to make in-depth changes but rather some cosmetic retouching keeping the repressive character of the law as is.

On the Data Protection side (Article 128) the commission even added restrictions on that were not in the previous version (translation coming up).

I though that we had a chance to establish a law to be proud of.

More details ...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Execution, Precision, Integrity and Credibility

I would have never imagined that our passionate and genuine campaign will lead to this sudden outburst in the foreign media. During the past couple of days, foreign journalists were carrying our cause as their own presenting the Law as an imminent danger on the freedom of expression.

Was it out of Negativism and fear from a gloomy present and uncertain future (in their respective countries)? was it an Aggregation of bad faith aiming to disfigure the image of our country in the world? or was it simply Gossip made by those who didn't really understand the core issues (and wanted to attract audience)?
My gut feeling points of course to the G option which seems to be the most plausible.

Despite my strong beliefs in the inherent powers and endless resources of Lebanon, the impact of some reports on me was particularly harmful and I was left with a profound sentiment of bitterness and disappointment. Lebanon looked like a weak and defenseless country, governed by a horde of faithless lawless and shameless fascists.

Does this image of Lebanon reflect reality? In my opinion, it does not.
But hey … this is the image that the foreign media is spreading, this is the perception that most of the people will have … and perception is unfortunately reality.

So what do we have to do now?

Change the NAG paradigm to the EPIC paradigm.

Do you know what? … Come to the meeting on Friday!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

e-Transaction Law postponed: New struggle begins

The Lebanese Parliament decided to postpone the adoption of the e-Transaction Law on the historic day of June 15, 2010. Early reports from those who attended the deliberations, show deep involvement of Presidents Berri and Hariri in explaining the drawbacks of specific Articles to the plenary.

This involvement is a clear sign of the effectiveness of our lobbying strategy.

The efforts of all those who contributed in the development of a thorough understanding of the law's flaws, imperfections
and dangerous impact on the business landscape, have been crowned by success and recognition.

All the MPs were eager to postpone the adoption of the law.
The press was happy to see the debate between the Speaker and the Prime Minister.
I received several phone calls from the inside spreading the good news.

Several persons have contributed to the modest achievement of today, and I thank them all (no listing of names before clearance).

But the hardest part of the struggle is yet to come. One month of hard discussions is waiting for us. I believe that we will need the input of all of you, so keep the spirit high and let's organize a meeting this week.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


"Public finances must be sound, the budget must be balanced, Public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of the administration must be controlled, and foreign aid must be reduced for fear that Rome becomes bankrupt.
The population must still learn to work instead of living from public wellfare. "

* Cicero - 55 BC - **

* MORALE: the crisis has lasted for 2065 YEARS!

It's reassuring.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Major pain points in the e-Transaction Law

The ESSA (Electronic Signatures and Services Authority) was established under this law with discretionary, selective, subjective and very broad and unjustified powers, beyond the objectives of the law and its functions. Its prerogatives are almost repressive for all "service providers" of electronic services and economic sectors at large

ESSA staff are given the powers of law enforcement (ضابطة العدلية), without any judicial oversight.

A number of relevant ministries such as Ministry of Economy, Telecommunications and Finance are marginalized with a clear conflict of powers with the ESSA.

ESSA is given regulatory powers, and operational powers meaning that it can regulate and operate at the same time.

There are many contradictions and ambiguities in many of the legal concepts and language

These observations and other observations in the drafting details (please see the Private Sector Comments document), are preventing this law from performing its desired function. This will result in a negative impact on the economic activity and investment panorama, due to the unjustified restrictions and unusual constraints that the law is putting on vital economic sectors in Lebanon.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

MP's are rallying protest against the Gestapo Law

Several Members of Parliament are rallying the protest against the e-Transaction Law that was voted yesterday by the Common Committees. Some of them have very advanced positions concerning the independent Electronic Signature and Services Authority (ESSA) who is positioned as the ultimate regulation and control body by the law.

The mighty ESSA have a long list of prerogatives ranging from the issuance of licenses for e-Signature certifiers to the management of the .lb domain. Requests in the parliament for the cancellation of the ESSA are becoming louder.

MP Ghassan Moukhaiber is asking to subordinate the committee to the Ministry of Justice. Other voices are requesting its affiliation to the Ministry of Economy and Trade or to the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA).

Meetings between MP's and Private Sector representatives will take place in the coming hours to discuss next steps including press conference and awareness campaign.

I will try to translate portions of the law in my next post.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

New Gestapo Law in Lebanon

Oppressive ICT Law passed Common Committees today in the Lebanese Parliament

The Deputy Speaker of the House forbids MP's from discussing the 200+ articles text and did not allow any questions and answers among them.
Some parliamentarians were angry and disappointed and refused to comment on what happened in the Chamber.

Shame on you Lebanese Parliament.

Lebanese People I call on you to react. They are pushing us back to the middle ages. On-line community this is against you I am counting on your help to oppose stupidity and ignorance
... more to come