PTA and MoIT has No Set Plan of Action over the Internet Censorship

The current government has shown its incompetence in many aspects. Even censorship policies are not consistent. Considering the false pride of the democracy that the government is living in, it is an irony that services such as mobile communication and internet has to be censorsed. Over the matter of YouTube censorship along with many other websites which contain material considered unfit for the Pakistani public, both Pakistani Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and the Ministry of Information Technology (MoIT) do not have a course of action. Their lack of planning as to the steps that need to be taken is an indication of their negligence and poor commitment.

PTA had submitted a proposal to the MoIT for content filtration on websites through a Chinese system. PTA had taken into consultations intelligence agencies and national security bodies, including the Ministry of Interior, Armed Forces, and NTSC. However, MoIT seems to be at odds with the proposal made due to certain reservations it has over the system and its potential to deliver. A central point has been planned at the PTA to control internet traffic and filtration will be done.

The filtration software is said to be worth $5 million and will be installed at four landing stations of ‘submarine cable’. Mobile internet will also be regulated in the same way. The reason to have reservation is also due to the fact that such a system would allow the government to monitor emails, mobile phone calls and mobile internet traffic, which is an invasion to individuals’ privacy.

However, this course of action has been denied by the PTA Chairman, Farooq Ahmed Khan, but said that there will be a system to monitor and filter only un-Islamic material over the internet. If the government becomes clear on what it wants to really monitor and how, the delay in reopening YouTube would have never happened. It is because the government lacks seriousness on the issue, it could not care more.

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