Parliament has endorsed an e-transaction law, which governs digital documents and contracts for individuals and businesses. It also covers digital crimes and related penal provisions. Gabriel Deek, Chair of Internet Society Lebanon Chapter (ISOC), said the law brings the country’s e-transactions regulations in line with those of other countries.
According to Nabil BouKhalid, Administrator of the local (.lb) Domain Registry, the law regulates digital transactions but does not facilitate them.
Digital signatures, email correspondence, and contracts are now considered legal, just like traditional documents. The new law also sets forth legal aspects for e-commerce and monetary guarantees. E-banking has also been addressed. E-checks and digital checks will be developed under the supervision of the Central Bank (BDL).
The law also calls for a committee to regulate and operate ‘.lb’ domain name registration. Deek said that the Parliament modified the proposed multi-stakeholder form, which enables the private sector to operate the domain registry according to the standards of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
The committee, which includes the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), has five ministries: Ministry of Telecommunications, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Economy and Trade, and Office of Minister of State for Administrative Reform (OMSAR). The private sector is represented by the Chamber of Commerce, Industry & Agriculture of Beirut & Mount Lebanon, and three assigned members for ICT related private sector entities.
Approval of the committee could be “complicated” because the new law puts domain name registration in the hands of a State committee, said Charbel Kareh, Chairman of ICT Committee at Beirut Bar Association. ICANN regulations state that domain registration must be managed by a private sector entity, Kareh said.
The law also governs the legal rights and penal provisions for the misuse of data, privacy, and modification. It also requires the public prosecutor to clearly explain why it suspended access to websites, and limits the duration of those suspensions.
Date Posted: Sep 26, 2018