Filters can't help block 100pc objectionable contents: PTA -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Filters can’t help block 100pc objectionable contents: PTA

Pakistan Press Foundation

ISLAMABAD: Though the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) claims to have proposed installation of filters to the Information Technology and Telecommunication Ministry, the ministry denies having received any such proposal.

A spokesperson for the IT Ministry, Saghir Ahmed Wattoo, told Business Recorder that the ministry has not received any such proposal, besides even filters cannot block contents automatically.

“PTA receives up to 200 links/complaints per day, forwards it to the Facebook and block them immediately, however there is no technical solution or filter to block it automatically”, a senior PTA official said.

PTA currently blocks hundreds of websites, including those run by ethnic Baloch dissidents and other sites containing pornography and material deemed to be blasphemous.

The PTA with a view to monitoring blasphemous and pornographic material on the internet has established a Web Analysis Directorate, a Web Analysis Cell “WAC” has been created to proactively monitor and identify blasphemous and pornographic content, he said.

PTA has installed state-of-the-art equipment at a cost of Rs2.8 billion to stop grey trafficking, introduced 24/7 call service for grey traffic reporting at headquarters and has also launched an awareness campaign in the media against grey telephony.

Divulging in to details, the official said that the PTA, last year, blocked over 400,000 suspected Internet Protocol (IP) addresses and thousands of illegal SIMs (Subscriber Identity Module) through their International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) numbers in its on-going drive to curb grey traffic.

However, there is no technical solution that can block 100 per cent objectionable contents, the sources said, adding that new links are being added every minute on the Internet. Additionally, objectionable content using secure protocols cannot be blocked as everyday more and more contents were being shifted to secure protocols.

The sources further disclosed that the technology is so advanced and people are so up-to-date that even a blocked content becomes accessible by using different proxies.

Last week, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said the government was taking steps to contact social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter to remove blasphemous content from being viewed in Pakistan.

“We will go to any extent even if we have to go to the extent of permanently blocking all such social media websites, if they refuse to cooperate,” Chaudhary Nisar had stated.

In January 2016, Pakistan ended a three-year ban on video-sharing website YouTube, over blasphemous content, after the content provider agreed to launch a localised version that would streamline the process of content for viewers in Pakistan.

Business Recorder