Government to distribute free softwares -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Government to distribute free softwares

KARACHI- The Ministry of IT would soon distribute free computer softwares among parents in an effort to guard children from pornography and lewd contents on the Internet – a much-needed offer hailed by both parents and the saner elements of society alike.

The IT ministry took this imperative decision at a meeting held the other day attended by the high-ups of the Pakistan Telecommunications Limited (PTCL), representatives of the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and software houses,

“The minister has approved funding for a project to develop content blocking software by Pakistani software companies,” a top official in the PTCL told sources on May 5th, 2003.

“This software would block pornographic websites and would be distributed free of cost, so that parents can protect their children from the harmful content on the net,” said an official.

When asked how will the ministry distribute the software among over one million Internet browsers in the country, the official replied that many options are being considered in this regard.

“There are many options available. The best way is to make it available on the ministry’s websites from where it can easily be downloaded,” he said.

The federal minister for IT and telecommunications in February this year issued strict orders to block websites, offering offensive and filthy material. Since then, the PTCL has blocked over 1800 such websites.

“But not all have been blocked. Browsers still manage to find new ones but the distribution of software doesn’t mean that we have concluded our campaign of website blocking,” said the official.

“If this is going to happen, it would be really a big achievement of the government. Positive initiative by anyone must be appreciated. I would like to have that software for my PC,” Muhammad Farooq, father of two teenagers said.

He said that the government should come up with new ideas and innovations to safeguard the sanctity of religious and social values, which is being severely tainted by the West’s influenced Internet and electronic media.

However, though parents are quite appreciative of the ministry’s proposed plan, some IT experts term such an effort as impractical, unrealistic and hectic.

“How it is possible to distribute software’s among one million Internet browsers and if they (browsers) really get that who would guarantee that they would install it to their PCs,” Rizwan Khalid Butt, head of a local ISP said.

He said that government should consider the ground realities while designing such policies.

“Government intention looks clear and good but the fact is that the policies seem unrealistic,” Butt added.

An IT expert suggested creation of a national Internet control switch, to aid the government’s plan of filtering the content and blocking salacious websites.

“The ideal case would be creation of a national Internet control switch, which accommodates such needs. However, due to the cost and maintenance overhead of implementing such a switch, it may be more feasible to address each of the goals on a priority basis with consideration to affordability and need”, he added.

The IT expert said; that strict care must be taken that the implementation of any monitoring and filtering mechanisms does not affect the Internet bandwidth availability and that, it should have a minimal impact if any, on its performance.
Source: The News