FIA Details Cybercrime Complaints and Their Progress

Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has received a total of 29,577 complaints of social media after the enactment of Prevention of Electronic Crime Act (PECA).

FIA has received 15,433 complaints against Facebook, 3,143 against WhatsApp, 4,332 against Instagram, 6,067 against twitter, 230 against Hotmail, 114 against Yahoo, 87 against Outlook, 85 against Gmail, 55 against YouTube, 13 each against Snapchat and Linkedin, and 5 against Pinterest, said Senior official of FIA, while briefing the National Assembly Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunications (MoITT).

The committee, which met with Ali Khan Jadoon in the chair on Monday, was further informed that 34,846 URLs were provided by the complainants of whom 29,577 were processed.

A total of 13,055 URLs of fake profiles were received where 9,822 complaints were processed and 8,723 fake accounts/contents profile were removed, 3,311 URLs of un-authorized access/hacking were provided by the complainants and all of them were processed and 2,103 accounts were recovered.

Another 5,022 URLs of harassment contents were received and all of them were processed and all content was removed.

FIA also received 5,472 URLs of blackmailing where 4,301 were removed, 3,528 URLs of anti-army were provided where 120 were processed and 2,315 were removed. Further, 540 URLs of stalking were received all were processed and 230 profiles were suspended, 4,233 URLs of pornography were provided where 55 were processed and all were removed.

The committee was further informed that in accordance with section 37 of PECA, PTA is empowered to block/remove online content which is unlawful under the Act including fake accounts.

PTA has constituted a dedicated cell namely “web analysis cell (WAC)” to receive/process complaints requiring internet content regulation. A standard operating procedure has been devised to execute the process in an effective manner.

In accordance to the SOP, complaints from individuals and stakeholders (govt departments) requiring blocking/regulating web content of different categories including defamation/impersonation are received through an electronic portal, email, and postal media.

At present 30 federal and provincial government organizations are accessing the e-portal for lodging their complaints. For lodging of complaints by the general public, PTA has notified a dedicated email address i.e.[email protected]. On receipt of a complaint, PTA issues necessary directions for blocking/removing of the alleged content to telecom licensees. In case any content for fake accounts is hosted on a secured platform like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, the relevant administration is requested to remove the content/block the fake account.

Since laws of Pakistan do not apply on such platforms, therefore, they take action in accordance with their community standards. Concerning the content removal/blocking for impersonation/fake accounts; PTA has processed 1,684 such URLs/websites including 106 from Dailymotion, 842 from Facebook, 13 on Instagram, 207 Other/Misc, 276 on Twitter, and 240 on Youtube.

The committee was further informed that the Ministry of Information and Broadcast (MoIB) has raised a Cyber Wing which reported about 71-fake accounts, defamatory/impersonation.

It is observed that social media platforms promptly respond to their users instead of any government organization. In this regard, PTA has also run a media campaign to educate SM Users about their rights in accordance with the rules of social media.

The committee was further informed that an increase in cyber crimes was also witnessed in Pakistan. NR3C National Response Centre for Cyber Crimes (now CCW Cyber Crime Wing) was established in 2007 at Islamabad, Karachi & Lahore, the only Law Enforcement Agency to combat cyber crimes in Pakistan.

The jurisdiction of CCW has been extended to cover the whole of the country, Cyber Crime Circles in Provincial Capitals plus 10 more stations. It’s a specialized wing of FIA mandated for the Technology-based Law Enforcement, Enforcement of PECA-2016, Cyber Crimes/Terrorism, Digital Forensics Laboratories, and Capacity Building and Awareness.

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