The Sindh High Court (SHC) has ordered Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA) to assist Federal Integrative Agency (FIA) by evolving a mechanism to curb fake social media accounts and bound telecom companies to provide IP addresses of the fake accounts to the intelligence agency.
The court ruled that assigning an IP address to a consumer is the company’s privilege but not at the cost of human life.
The top court of the province issued these directions after hearing a petition filed by a lady school teacher, who asked the court not to reveal her identity.
The court directed the concerned authorities to remove all obscene and objectionable materials relating to the petitioner within 15 days.
Sindh High Court has directed Chairman PTA to make an effort, with the help of relevant institutions, and submit a detailed report to the court. The telecom company in question has been directed to cooperate with the investigating officer and provide complete details of the users who are involved in such type of offenses.
The court observed that the act of uploading defamatory material is a serious crime because this not only harms the person directly but their family as well. “There must be a complete mechanism not only to get to the culprit but to ensure immediate removal and blocking of such attempts,” the court noted.
“Without proper control and access to IP address, it is not possible to unearth cyber crimes. The cellular companies may have certain privileges in authorizing an IP address to a number of persons but since it is resulting in serious prejudice to both objectives of an offense, there must be some mechanism to detect and convey the IP address of the culprit,” the court underlined.
Cyber crimes are now taken seriously all over the world and legislation are being made worldwide.
The petitioner, in her petition, said that a person name Zohaib Hassan sent her a marriage proposal. Zohaib’s proposal was rejected by the family of the victim.
As an act of revenge, Zohaib started harassing the petitioner and her family members by uploading doctored and edited immoral and obscene material and photos of her and started character assassination of the applicant and her family.
She added that due to the defamation campaign, the petitioner and her family faced hardship and the petitioner’s sister was also divorced on account of the said acts.
The petitioner submitted that she filed several complaints to FIA cyber crime cell but the cell failed to take any action against Zohaib Hassan and also failed to remove the fake Facebook accounts under her name.
In his submission, FIA inquiry officer told the court that a cellular service provider is not cooperating with the agency in reaching to the IP address of the accused person. The company provides one IP address to nearly 5000 users, which makes it hard to identify the culprit.