Pace of digital progress making local law invalid!
Economists dub the lottery a stupidity tax because the odds of getting any payoff by investing in a lottery ticket are approximately equivalent to flushing the money down the toilet. Why in the world do we play the lottery? There may be many answers, but the first one would surely be seeing a lot of winners on TV or in newspapers, right? When was the last time we saw interviews with anybody who lost?
If the media covered a fraction of the losers, the lottery would have long been a thing of the past!
If you want to be a multi-millionaire, just go to a remote village and become a mobile banking agent to start an online gambling business. Several agents have become multi-millionaires thanks to this business. Social media is continuously advertising gambling apps such as Lucky Win, Glory Casino, Rapid Cash, and Emirates Lottery, luring the young generation.
The Public Gambling Act of 1867 prohibits all such gambling activities, including app makers, advertisers like Facebook and YouTube, traders, and of course, the players. And yet, such business practices are rampant, dodging our legal system and the cybercrime cell with much ease. In the process, a large number of people are falling victim to gambling addiction and other related crimes, not to mention siphoning off money outside the country.
A Digital Security Act was passed in 2018 with the aim of preventing the spread of racism, sectarianism, extremism, terrorist propaganda, and hatred against religious or ethnic minorities through social media, print media or any other electronic media. Leaving alone the debate on the Act itself, one may ask if it is being enforced effectively, as a lot of prohibited content is still reaching the public through social media, which brings us to the question of whether our law enforcement agency is capable of preventing such contents from reaching the public?
If we look at the current scenario, the answer is clearly in the negative. While there is no doubt about the good intention of the authority, it is obvious that the problem lies in the lack of technological advancement required for the implementation of the Act.
Unfortunately, in countries like Bangladesh, laws are formulated based on traditional thinking, incognizant or incompatible with the digital progress in all fields. This gap between such laws and the rapid progress in technology is what makes their implementation a challenge, pointing to their futility. Under such circumstances, the law is executed without consistency, often becoming discriminatory.
Many countries like Bangladesh, with these laws, are not coping with the digital advancement in the era of 4IR. To address this challenge, lawmakers may consider the following factors:
1. Adopting new laws and regulations that address digital technologies' specific issues and opportunities; 2. Updating existing laws and regulations to adapt to the developments of digital technologies; 3. Using new technologies at the time of formulating or updating the law to ensure enforceability; 4. Learning new skills to keep up with the pace and complexities of digital technologies and their legal implications; 5. Addressing the lack of a common and coherent legal framework for digital issues at the international and regional levels; 6. Considering the challenges of enforcing existing laws in the digital sphere, especially across borders.
It is vital to address this challenge, which will only grow in the coming days if no action is taken. Laws are as important as their enforcement. Lawmakers need to understand the pace of digital progression, and law-enforcing agencies should be technically equipped with international collaboration.
The author is founder and managing director of BuildCon Consultancies Ltd