IN the past few years, increased taxes and poor law and order situation in the country has have resulted in losses for cellular network operators, while the ban on Internet contents has also decreased revenues of ISPs and submarine fibre optic cable operators in the country.Much has been said about all this and other challenges facing the telecommunications industry but the nation has another challenge awaiting, and that is cyber crime law.Pakistan must align its relevant local laws and collaborate globally. Individuals, private corporations and government organisations are becoming targets of cyber crimes.At the international level, we know that that Americas National Security Agency (NSA) was spying on Pakistan through the Internet and online communication. Our Senate Committee on Defence and Defence Production has also identified cyber warfare as a new, non-military security threat to the country. In short, technology and deep penetration of Internet usage has introduced problems spanning from petty cyber crimes to grave international issues. Moreover, YouTube, now banned in Pakistan, was once widely used for educational purposes. Google has very little to lose from the ban of YouTube since the revenue it derived from Pakistans digital marketing is comparably insignificant. It is Pakistan that loses out and suffers. On top of all that, the Pakistan Telecommunications Authotity (PTA) deployed the grey traffic monitoring system that detects illegal international voice calls and automatically blocks the IPs not in PTAs white list. Now white-listing of IPs is being done across the country but this process has also been reported to be causing problems for telecommunications companies and their customers. On its transparency report webpage, Google discloses the information regarding requests received from governments and actions it takes in response to such requests. Googles community guidelines and violation of local laws usually form the basis of content removal. However, the government is finally working on new legislation to deal with cyber crimes. The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications has taken up the long pending cyber crime bill to finalise it. This brings us the opportunity to define our local laws keeping in view the present and future challenges. This will pave the way to deal with issues at the international level. Google states that 47 YouTube videos from India were restricted from local view because they violated local (Indian) laws. Objectionable content that we are unable to filter, a specific webpage or a particular video, can be removed by Google given that our local laws are streamlined in the light of such challenges. In a press statement, Google had declared it an objective to offer local versions of YouTube but for that they look at local laws. We need to take the correct measures rather than blocking websites and IPs. We need to define laws that cater for future challenges and provide an atmosphere for investment. Legislation is the need of the hour; transforming challenges into opportunity is a choice.
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