Blocking all offensive websites is impossible, says PTA

SC told filtering all websites would severely impede internet speed

Our Correspondent February 05, 2016
SC told filtering all websites would severely impede internet speed. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has finally admitted that it is virtually impossible to block all offensive websites as hundreds of sites emerge every day and even if blocked these may be accessed through proxy sites.

In its reply submitted to the top court, the PTA has expressed reservations over the continuous blockade of websites on a massive scale as it would severely affect internet quality.

Over 60,000 websites were blocked by PTA

PTA Director-General Nisar Ahmad has filed the report in compliance with the Supreme Court’s January 12 order on a petition filed by Qazi Hussain Ahmed, the late chief of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and another JI leader Muhammad Hussain Mehanti. In the last hearing, the court had sought suggestions from all respondents for removing objectionable content from the social and electronic media.

The PTA has stated a lot of new websites are made and uploaded on a daily basis, and Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and proxies can be used to access them even if they are blocked.

The internet, the PTA wrote, is a club of millions of computers connected together to serve each other. Each computer on the internet is assigned with a unique Internet Protocol (IP) address. Among them, a few act as clients and the others act as servers. Whenever any client wants to connect with a server to fetch data or information, it raises its request in human language, which is translated by the Domain Name Server (DNS) into an IP address (machine language).

Pakistan to block over 400,000 porn websites

The authority has so far blocked approximately 84,000 websites containing objectionable content.  A list of approximately 400,000 obscene websites has also been given to all internet services providers for blocking them. While about 200,000 links have been blocked, the operators require more time.

The PTA told the court it was also considering a number of steps for blocking offensive material on the internet.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 5th,  2016.



Fahim | 8 years ago | Reply Any one can launch an offensive website in matter of few hours. As an engineer I know how difficult it is to block every offensive website. Once a website is blocked, when and how to unblock it and how to maintain the authenticity of database. It needs massive resources in term of equipment, human resources and technology.
Dong | 8 years ago | Reply What a bunch of clowns, any person with a slight knowledge of tech knows that Internet isn't a company whom you can ask to remove stuff. The blockage is a crime and the cost of this blockage is not only wasting our tax money but also is slowing down the quality of Internet. How about we leave what a person does in his private space and stop trying to become the nosy neighbor. Instead of educating people we are going back to stone ages. @Murtaza shame on you, the so called "great wall" is the worst kinds of prison that has been placed by the dictators of China. Internet is about freedom of Information and idiots like you want to keep our nation illiterate and mental slaves.
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