Pakistan Telecommunication Authority is reportedly working on a mechanism under which mobile phone operators will filter SMS content for black listed keywords to make sure that SMS messages with bad language aren’t delivered to (intended or un-intended) mobile phone users, told us sources at PTA headquarters.
Though the information we have got is of preliminary nature but we can confirm that a list of almost 1,500 keywords (from both Urdu and English language) has been prepared and sent out to telecom companies to be filtered for any communication over SMS.
For the purpose a letter titled: “Implementation – Content Filtering through SMS” is reportedly on it’s way for telecom companies.
From what it looks like, each and every SMS message will be filtered by mobile companies and will be delivered to other party only if it passes the filter list.
We are yet to get the official confirmations from cellular companies and PTA, but the we have got this list of keywords, first shared by Faisal Sabzwari over twitter, which mostly contains abusive words. Even Mr. Sabzwari was trembled by the list:
If implemented in true spirit, this action by PTA is going to get massive applaud, especially because incidents of indecent and abusive SMS messages received from unknown users are increasing.
On other hands, cellular companies won’t be happy if such a regulation is implemented. Just imagine the size of work required in filtering billions of messages a day. There are going to be issues involved including the cost involved in deploying filters, latency, delivery issues and so on.
As we mentioned earlier, we aren’t aware of the procedures and execution methods for the filtering, but we sincerely hope that mobile companies will take necessary measures for the privacy of SMS communication. Moreover, government won’t use this regulation/determination to filter anti-government or anti-politicians messages.
Keep watching this space for more updates on this.