FIA receives 29,577 complaints after enactment of PECA

Business Recorder

Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has received a total of 29,577 complaints after the enactment of Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA), admitting needs for awareness and resources to deal with the misuse of social media. The 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 a 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 here on Monday was further informed that 34,846 URLs were provided by the complainant of whom 29,577 were processed. A total of 13,055 URLs of fake profiles received where 9,822 complaints were processed and 8,723 fake accounts/ contents profile were removed, 3,311 URLs of un-authorised access/ hacking were provided by complainant where and all of them were processed and 2,103 accounts were recovered. Further 5,022 URLs of harassment contents were received, all of them were processed and all contents were removed. The FIA also received 5,472 URLs of blackmailing where 4,301 contents were removed, 3,528 URLs of anti-army were provided where 120 were processed and contents were removed of 2,315 URLs. 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 contents were removed. The committee was further informed that in accordance with the section 37 of PECA, the PTA is empowered to block / remove online contents which are unlawful under the act including fake accounts. The PTA has constituted a dedicated cell namely “Web Analysis Cell (WAC)” to receive and process complaints requiring internet content regulation. A standard operating procedure has been devised to execute the process in an effective manner. In accordance with the SOP, complaints from individuals and stakeholders (government departments) requiring blocking/regulating web content of different categories including defamation/ impersonation are received through an electronic portal, email and postal media. On receipt of a complaint, the PTA issues necessary directions for blocking/removing of the alleged content to telecom licencees. In case any content for fake account 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. As far as content removal/blocking for impersonation/fake account is concerned; the PTA has processed 1,684 such URLs/websites including 106 with Dailymotion, 842 with Facebook, 13 with Instagram, 207 with other/miscellaneous hosts, 276 with Twitter and 240 with Youtube. The committee was further informed that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MoIB) has raised a Cyber Wing which reported about 71 fake accounts.

It is observed that the social media platforms promptly respond to their users instead of any government organisation. In this regard, the PTA has also run media campaign to educate social media users about their rights in accordance to rules of social media. President of Pakistan Dr Arif Ali is being considered as one of the technological experts, but the President Secretariat is currently at zero-level in implementation of e-office and digitisation. This was revealed in the documents presented before the committee by the National Information Technology Board (NITB) which briefed it on hurdles/impediments/issues on the digitisation and e-office and to explore their solutions. The NITB has categorised the e-office implementation in six levels starting from zero to five. Zero level means that there is no preparedness at all with respect to hardware as well as human resources for the implementation of e-office. The committee was told that the flagship project of the ministry is ensuring e-offices in the government departments and so far 27 out of 45 ministries have reached level-2 of the e-office setup and 15 are in process. Regarding e-office, the NITB briefed on levels (0 to 4) status they attained in the different ministries. In level-4, only MoITT, NITB, Board of Investment and PHDEC fall, in level-3 there are Commerce Division, Establishment Division, Foreign Affairs Division, BISP, IGNITE, FIA, Islamabad Police, IPO, Privatisation Commission, in level-2 they have updated National Assembly, Prime Minister Office, CDA, NEPRA, FBR, PARC, PEMRA, CGA/FABS, NTC, CCP, DRAP, NTDC, WWF and Federal Ombudsman, HEC Office with e-system and Industries and Production are in level-1. However in zero level, there are Climate Change, Human Rights, National History and Literacy Heritage, Postal Services, Water Resources, Textile Industry, Railways, Statistics, Housing, National Security Food Security, National Security, Inter-provincial Coordination, Kashmir Affairs &GB, Maritime Affaires, Religious Affaires, President Secretariat, NHA, Motorway Police and HIT. They further informed that there are certain directives of the Prime Minister Office regarding implementation of e-office with deadline for level 04 and they are expecting that by June 2020, all the federal ministries and departments would be converted to e-office. The NITB informed that one of the challenges for implementation was that there was no legislation/executive order for usage and implementation, but with the directives of the Prime Minister this challenge has been overcome. Furthermore, there is no ICT infrastructure in line ministries; however, now the government has directed for a centralised procurement which would cost around Rs 1.3 billion for all the ministries and departments. With this the infrastructure issue would be resolved. The committee was given a detailed briefing on the PSDP 2019-20 reflecting the ongoing as well as the new projects of the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication and its attached organisations. The committee raised certain questions on the PSDP-funded projects and desired province-wise break-up of the projects in the next meeting. The members asked questions from representatives of the ministry

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