Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has set up a Cyber Vigilance Division (CVD) to deal with the complaints against unlawful content circulating online in Pakistan, according to the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA).
To cope with this role, the authority has also framed up Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for submitting complaints and the due process for their disposal.
Currently, the telecom operators and PTA itself have sifted through the content hosted on unsecured websites. However, the unlawful content that is hosted on secured websites is dealt with differently.
Then there’s the case of secured websites that are hosted outside Pakistan. PTA revealed in a report that it will collaborate closely with these platforms to address the requests made for removal of content not passing the standards of CVD.
It also stated that PTA has been working under the prescribed powers and functions outlined by the Pakistan Telecom (Re-organization) Act, 1996.
But, given the growth and development of the internet availability in Pakistan, PTA has been awarded a responsibility to block or remove any content that has been declared unlawful under the provisions of the law.
The law that handed over this control to PTA is the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) 2016, commonly referred to as the cybercrime law. Since the law has been effective, PTA had the responsibility of addressing the grievances of internet users and stakeholders like public offices, government organizations, business entities, and other agencies.
Notably, Section 37 of the PECA, 2016 states that any content “against the glory of Islam, against the integrity, security and defense of Pakistan, public order, contempt of court, against decency & morality and incitement of any offices” should be removed or blocked.
Regarding this, the authority has already blocked 824,878 URLs till now.