PTA Orders ISPs to Block Over 400,000 Objectionable Websites

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) is about to begin a major crackdown against websites containing any objectionable content. The telecom regulator has contacted all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block a vast number of websites after Supreme Court’s order to remove any objectionable material accessible to the people of Pakistan.

PTA ordered ISPs on Monday to take down over 400,000 adult websites. Access to any similar sites, which contain pornographic material or smut, will be restricted at the domain level. To be exact, 429,343 websites with pornography were listed in the issued directive.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan ordered the PTA to take steps in restricting access to any immoral material available online. The order said that “PTA should take remedial steps to quantify the nefarious phenomenon of obscenity and pornography that has an imminent role to corrupt and vitiate the youth of Pakistan”.

Supreme Court’s order was issued on 12th January 2016. It said that internet is a global necessity as information regarding global developments and access to knowledge are easily available to anyone around the world. Such means of information should be encouraged and promoted so people have to spend less and gain knowledge from international institutions. The order reads, that access to this information should be qualified such that nasty and problematic content is removed before it reaches the general population.

The order says that wicked content “has the potential to corrupt and vitiate the youth. This aspect of the subject has to be thought over holistically so that the negative part of the information may not spoil our young generation.”

The regulatory body says that this is just a pre-emptive measure against objectionable content available online. Initially, the current list of over 400,000 websites will be blocked by each ISP on their networks.

ISPs are saying that the list indeed extensive but it’s a big challenge and will take a lot of time to block all of the content. ISP officials state that blocking websites at the domain level is quite costly and such a large list will require system-wide changes and special equipment alongside a substantial number of man-hours. However, due to legal requirements, all ISPs have begun to implement PTA’s restriction order over their networks.

He is the Editor at ProPakistani. Reach him at [email protected]