Analysis and Critique of Mongolia’s Draft Law on Information Technology
December 1, 2003
Mongolia’s Ministry of Infrastructure has proposed a Draft Law on Information Technology that is now being considered by Mongolia’s State Great Khural, the country’s parliament.
The core conclusion of this analysis and critique is that the Draft Law as it now stands would do significant harm to Mongolia’s vibrant and promising information and communication technology (ICT) sector. For the reasons detailed in this analysis, the Draft Law should be substantially revised and rewritten. To fulfill its responsibilities as the guardian of the people of Mongolia, the Great Khural must give careful consideration to each of the many policy choices that would be codified in the provisions of the Draft Law. An alarmingly high portion of the policy choices in the Draft Law will cause harm to Mongolia’s national Internet and e-commerce sectors and to its future as a competitive player in the global information and communication technology markets. Many provisions are confused and confusing, apparently reflecting a lack of technical understanding.
At home, the Draft Law would crush e-commerce with unnecessary regulatory burdens, block effective deployment of new technologies and infrastructures, raise the costs of Mongolia’s ICT enterprises, restrict the range and reduce the quality of communications services, and increase the monthly bills for Mongolian users. If the Draft Law is approved and implemented as it is currently written, Mongolian citizens will be saddled with fewer choices, older technology, slower connectivity, higher prices, irrational limits on technology, and more bureaucracy. Perhaps worst of all, the Draft Law’s burdensome regulations are so vague and expansive that they will undoubtedly open new vistas for governmental abuse and corruption. For Mongolia, the net result would be a costly tragedy of short-sightedness and a squandering of potential: with its high levels of education, literacy, and technical skills, the country is well-situated to be a highly competitive player in the global market for ICT services.
Mongolia deserves much better than the broken legal framework of the Draft Law on Information Technology. If the country is to foster entrepreneurship, local enterprise, and low-cost, high-quality ICTs for all Mongolians, the Draft Law must be thoroughly reconsidered and rewritten.