Pakistan Seeks Access to Gmail / Yahoo Emails to Combat Terrorism

Government of Pakistan has requested Interpol to devise a way out for Pakistani authorities to easily and quickly gain access to email data of Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail users by showing Pakistani court orders to relevant service provider in order to fight cyber terrorism in the country, told us a high level government official who is directly aware of the situation.

On behalf of Government of Pakistan, Interior Minister Mr. Rahman Malik has written a letter to Interpol chief requesting his help to find a way out  so that these global internet service providers (such as Google) start accepting Pakistani court orders. Minister said that these companies usually don’t respond to requests or require US court order for retrieval of required information.

Government of Pakistan believes that Talibans and other terrorists use emails to share intelligence.

letter said that it has become extremely necessary to intercept email data of terrorists and those of fraudsters to combat the terrorism and other crimes in the country.

Earlier today local media had quoted Mr. Rahman Malik as warning Google Pakistan to co-operate with government of Pakistan in tracking criminals or to face a ban.

Mr. Badar Khushnood, country consultant for Google Pakistan opted not to respond to our call to give his viewpoint.

It merits mentioning here that Pakistan Telecommunication Authority recently banned the usage of secure VPN or any other secure mode of internet channel. Pakistan’s such efforts of keeping a watch on Internet is largely condemned by the masses.

It wont be out of place to mention here that Google has communicated in it’s privacy statement that company may be legally required to share Gmail emails or any data with law enforcement agencies. But for that government agencies (from around the world) are required to contact Google requesting the data for any specific incident or personal.

Update:

Express Tribune has published following video showing Rahman Malik as saying that neither Google nor Youtube is helping Pakistan.

Following is the full text of Mr. Malik’s talk:

In case of cyber crime, let me tell you that neither Google is helping us nor Youtube. Several Taliban factions are using Internet right now.

Even in Mumbai attacks, the telephony and internet service providers are based in U.S.

Many of my colleagues also demanded that if Google and Youtube are not helping us, then we should block them – but I don’t want to do that immediately.

The service that is spreading terrorism in our country, or if it is helping terrorists then we have a full right to block it.

Update 2:

We have got hold of the letter of Government of Pakistan that was sent to Mr Ronald K. Noble Secretary General ICOP/ INTERPOL.

Excerpts from letter are as following:

As you are aware of the fact that Pakistan is actively engaged in fighting war on terror  for the last ten years. The terrorist are invariably using modern technology as a mode of communication for their nefarious designs, They also create websites and profiles on social networking sites websites for cyber terrorism and to defame Law enforcement agencies (LEAs) and the government dignitaries.

It has been bought to my knowledge that in this process, these devious and unscrupulous people are spreading disinformation to their advantage and misuse of technology has risen to a level, where even media people are getting threats through internet.

Modern information and communication technology on one hand has made the world a global village but on the other hand has created enormous difficulties for LEAs in investigation of cybercrimes and electronic crimes.

Investigation of cyber crimes and matters involving cyber terrorism require timely retrieval of information and data from the companies like Google, Gmail, and YouTube etc. Since most of such companies are located in USA, when they are contacted for provision of information, either “Subpoena” is asked for or no reply is received from them. If the matter is referred through INTERPOL, production of Subpoena is again advised to proceed further with the matter.

You will appreciate that the provision of “Subpoena” or  “Court Order” of their country of origin is not possible for foreign LEAs. Our Concerned LEA has not received a proper response from these companies even on provision of our domestic Court Order and hence a large number of cases are not resolved.

I would like to request your indulgence in the matter at personal level to take up this issue at the appropriate forum and determine remedial measures to device a mechanism for quick information retrieval from service providers located all over the world by accommodating “Court Order” issued by a competent court of jurisdiction of Pakistan. We request that orders of our Court may be honored in this respect.

While admiring and appreciating your support and services rendered to Pakistan And our LEAs, I am hopeful that you will be able to find a workable solution to the issue at hand .

Tech reporter with over 10 years of experience, founder of ProPakistani.PK