PTA Has Blocked 830,000 Pornographic Websites: Chairman

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has blocked 830,000 websites for hosting pornographic content, according to the chairman. He revealed this to the Senate’s Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication recently.

The committee was briefed by the National Response Centre for Cybercrimes (NR3C) and PTA about people filming and uploading videos on the dark web. The status of recommendations made by the sub-Committee on the payment of the increase in pension to retired employees of PTCL by Pakistan Telecommunication Employees Trust (PIET) was also discussed.

Chairman PTA said that 2,364 websites hosting child pornographic content were blocked on the basis of information shared by Interpol. He further said that videos containing child pornography are available on the dark web that a commoner can’t access.

Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) officials briefed the panel on cases related to child pornography saying the agency has registered a total of fourteen such cases with enquires into five being conducted. They said that FIA takes action whenever it receives a complaint as it can’t act on its own. The committee asked FIA to suggest amendments to the law.

PTI Senator Faisal Javed asked the agency to simplify the procedure for filing complaints against offenses involving child pornography. Rubina Khalid was of the view that the poor are coerced into hushing up such cases. She stressed that there should be no room for pardoning the offenders in such cases.

While detailing cases handled by the agency, the committee was informed that until now, it has received only 14 cases. Senator Rukhsana Zuberi said that this alone speaks volumes of the performance of the agency.

Senator Kulsoom Parveen was of the view that for agencies to work to their full potential, it is imperative to empower them. She asserted that all state machinery must join hands to strengthen NR3C.

The committee has summoned all service providers in the next meeting and a strategy will be formulated that is funded by them. She added that FIA must contact Interpol to determine the quantum of uploads on the dark web from Pakistan.

Deliberating over the plight of retired PTCL employees, the committee was displeased on the lack of progress and said that PTCL is acting in a biased manner, losing its credibility. Secretary Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication requested the committee for more time until the next meeting to sort out the matter. He is under the impression that payments have already been made.

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