Television

Pak govt not interested in giving access to YouTube: Lahore HC

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NEW DELHI: The Lahore High Court has observed that it appears that the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) is least interested in drafting a mechanism that could open (unblock) YouTube in Pakistan.

The observation was made earlier this month in 'Pakistan Internet Freedom' (Bytes for All Vs Federation of Pakistan).

However, the Deputy Attorney General informed court that Google did not respond to the request and seemingly has no interest in this case and so did not appear in court. Earlier, it was learnt that a legal representative of Google was going to appear before the court.

Bytes for All, the petitioner of the case, informed that PTA was misleading the court and that it had the mechanism to filter the unwanted blasphemous and anti-social content on internet.

"While PTA has the technical capacity to block individual URLs to keep the rest of the platform accessible, they had been denying their ability to do so", the petitioner argued.

A filtering solution is already in practice at Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) who hired the technology from a Canadian firm Netsweeper.

According to the petitioner, Netsweeper technology is being implemented in Pakistan on PTCL for purposes of political and social filtering, including websites of secessionist movements, sensitive religious topics, and independent media.

Several times, the Pakistan government and its regulatory bodies have announced that they lack a technical capability to block specific URLs in Pakistan and for that they require filtering software. Other than this, government representatives have been demanding Google to open its office in Pakistan so that legal affairs could be controlled in a better way.

An official of the ISP while commenting on the situation said, "It is very easy to provide complete access to YouTube archive and filter the unwanted content at the same time. If government is seriously willing to resolve the issue, ISPs can install the filtering software on their end. This will ensure filtered access to entire YouTube".

Meanwhile even as PTA had claimed last year that that it had blocked the access to the videos on YouTube that are anti-Islamic, many leading Pakistani ISPs are still making it possible for people to access those videos (without even using any proxy) which are actually the trailers of the movie titled Innocence of Muslims.

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