KARACHI Oct. 25:Bolo Bhi expresses its strong reservations at reports of the revival of  Pakistan Government’s plan to install a URL filtering and blocking system. Reports indicate that plans are afoot to have it in place by the end of this year, despite Ministry of Information Technology’s decision to shelve this plan in response to a global campaign earlier this year.The campaign had clearly highlighted the repercussions of internet blocking and filtering system, and how it negatively impacts encryption and slows down all internet access. During that campaign, and in Bolo Bhi’s earlier correspondence with the Ministry of IT we were assured that no such steps would be taken.
We are alarmed to learn that despite assurances given after intervention of MNA Bushra Gohar, the Ministry of IT has reportedly decided to go ahead and implement the URL filtering and blocking system.Given the circumstances leading to the blanket ban on YouTube, despite Sindh High Court decisionterming such ad hoc blocking to be unconstitutional, Bolo Bhi demands that the Ministry of IT come out with a clear public statement regarding its intentions.
Bolo Bhi would like to draw the attention of other rights-based organizations and individuals to be watchful of attempts by the government to infringe on the privacy and digital rights of the citizens of Pakistan under the pretext of clamping down on objectionable material in cyberspace.

Contact: Afia Salam – Media communication & Outreach Bolo Bhi

Email: afia@bolobhi.org

Bolo Bhi means ‘Speak up’, in Urdu. We are a not-for-profit geared towards advocacy, policy and research in the areas of gender rights, government transparency, legislation, Internet freedom, digital security, privacy and empowerment. We, at Bolo Bhi, believe it is crucial to bridge the gap between rights advocates, policy makers, media and citizens. It is by bridging this gap that one can move ahead to chart a way forward and resolve issues through consensus, in a way that is mutually beneficial.

 

Previous statements related to E-Crime Legislation & Policy: 

Resources:

National URL Filtering System: Tool Kit