Objectionable content: Pakistan seeks Google cooperation
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has asked Google to provide the country with a preferential access to block objectionable and blasphemous content on YouTube and obtain information about some Gmail users who violate the country’s cyber law, The News has learnt.
A delegation led by Jake Lucchi, Google’s Head of Safety, Content and Social Impact Public Policy and Government Relations-Asia Pacific met with officials of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on Friday to discuss coordination between Pakistani regulator and the search engine giant on management of objectionable content on YouTube Pakistan, a top PTA official confirmed.
PTA’s member Compliance and Enforcement Abdul Samad told The News that the meeting was aimed at improving coordination with Google for the implementation of Pakistan Electronic Crimes Act (PECA). The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has responsibility for running and regulating the country’s telecommunication systems and services. Pakistan had banned access to YouTube in the country in September 2012 after an anti-Islam film was uploaded to the site, sparking violent protests in the country. The ban was lifted in January 2016 after the Google-owned video-sharing website launched a local version that allows the government to demand removal of material it considers offensive.
“We discussed the ways to speed-up the coordination under the provision of PECA,” PTA member said referring to the Friday’s meeting. Under
the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016 the glorification of terrorism offenses, hate speech, recruitment, and the funding and planning of terrorism has been criminalized Online. Sources said Pakistan demanded a preferential access to local version of YouTube for blockade of blasphemous and objectionable content. The Pakistani authorities also demanded cooperation with regard to Gmail users who are found involved in offences defined under PECA. However PTA’s Abdul Samad told The News that the authority does not request user data from google.
Sources said Google assured the PTA that it will cooperate with the authority whenever a request will be made under the local law. However regarding immediate or preferential access Google delegation told the authority that there was a procedure in place to entertain such requests.
The PTA was told that if anything was found on YouTube in violation of its community guidelines and the local law in Pakistan, Google would comply with the government requests.