In an attempt to curb the growing number of Cyber crimes in the Country, Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) has established a Cyber Vigilance Division (CVD). The Cyber Vigilance Division would be responsible for monitoring and handling complaints related to illegal content over the web, in accordance with the guidelines set under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA).
CVD Consists of two departments. The Web Analysis Department (WAD) is responsible for identifying, channeling and blocking URLs containing Blasphemous, Pornographic, Anti-State/Judiciary or Hate Speech Content, which could be reported against by some Government agencies, state-institutions or the General Public. On the Other hand, the Vigilance Department is required to detect and apprehend grey traffic.
PTA has adopted a multifaceted approach in this regard, which involves, “automatic mitigation of unauthorized IP addresses, unearthing of setups/ illegal gateway exchanges causing millions of rupees loss to government exchequer for consequent raids and also reconcile telecom traffic for revenue assurance.”
The Cyber Vigilance Division would be required to tackle unlawful content, regardless of where the content is hosted from or the platform where it exists. In cases where such content exists on unsecured websites, it would be dealt with by the respective Internet Service Providers, along with PTA’s automated system.
However, in order to curb content cases where the unlawful content happens to exist on secure websites which are hosted from abroad, PTA has established cooperative understanding with platforms such as Facebook, Google, Youtube, Twitter etc. due to which these platforms would honor requests of content removal made by PTA. PTA has developed a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to handle the mechanism of lodging and disposing complaints.
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PECA has also identified what type of content would the Cyber Vigilance Division act against as it stated, “(content) against the glory of Islam, against the integrity, security and defense of Pakistan, public order, contempt of court, against decency & morality and incitement of any offices under section 37 of the PECA, 2016”.
Since PECA came into existence, PTA has blocked 824,878 URLs with some of them being Anti-State/Judiciary while others being blasphemous.
While the Cyber Vigilance Division would be monitoring content, users would also be able to lodge complaints if they identify any Anti-state, Anti-Judiciary or Blasphemous content. Users may also refer to firstname.lastname@example.org incase their complaints are not addressed or there is a significant delay in resolving the complaints.