Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has opposed further amendments to the Prevention of Electronic Crime Act 2016 with regard to blocking/ removal of unlawful online content.
The PTA stance came in a briefing of the authority’s official to the Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication.
Prevention of Electronic Crime Act was promulgated in 2016.
The authority said it is, in an exercise of its powers conferred under section 37 of PECA 2016 read with sections 16, 17, 20, 21, 22, taking cognizance over the matters based upon complaints received by it. In addition, PECA Rules are to be devised by the Ministry of Information Technology under section 37 are still in process.
The PTA has informed MoIT in writing that at the moment no further amendment to PECA 2016 with regard to blocking/ removal of unlawful online content is required.
Reference is made to the meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on IT & Telecommunication on the issue of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) mandate to monitor, control and remove unethical, anti-religion, pornographic, blasphemous content from social media platforms pursuant to Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016 (the “Act”).
As directed by the Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication in its’ meeting held on 16th October, 2018 with regard to proposing and suggesting for amendments in the Act to further strengthen the mandate of PTA and FIA, it is submitted that currently, PTA in exercise of its powers conferred under section 37 read with sections 16, 17, 20, 21, 22 is taking cognizance over the matters based upon complaints received to PIA.
“In addition, PECA Rules to be devised under section 37 are still in process. Therefore, at moment no further amendments with regard to blocking and removal of unlawful online content are required. All complaints about blocking/removal and access to unlawful online contents are being processed through an online portal which is accessible to all relevant stakeholder organization(s),” the PTA told the committee.
It would be relevant to point out that despite the absence of the above-mentioned Rules; PTA has already established a Cell with the mandate to deal with the complaints related to blocking of unlawful online content. In this regard, contact numbers and email address [email protected] has also been advertised through public notices in newspapers and PTA’s website for information and sending emails by the public at large.
Keeping in view the above mentioned factual and legal position MoIT is requested to expedite the promulgation of PECA Rules so that all complaints may be processed and disposed of accordingly, the Authority urged.