Govt urges Twitter to share fake accounts data

Govt urges Twitter to share fake accounts data

“The PTA apprised the standing committee that Twitter is not cooperating to close down the fake accounts causing defamation and harassment. Authority sorted out hundreds of videos containing unlawful contents to screen over. Over 90 percent of unauthorized data was removed by TikTok.”



It is unfortunate, two girls namely Hareem Shah and Sundal Khattak had become top trend on Twitter.

The Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunications has suggested the government to initiate an agreement with Twitter management for sharing information about fake accounts. After receiving the data from the Twitter authority, fake accounts will be blocked consequently. The warning may be issued to stop microblogging and social networking services by Pakistan if they do not extend the helping hand to curb the evils of social media. This warning may lead to permanent Blocking of Twitter for non-cooperation.

The parliamentary panel met with Rubina Khalid in the chair recently. Data theft from NADRA database by the registration of SIM cards via fake credentials and use of illegal exchanges in the country was a matter under discussion. The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) response did not satisfy the committee. Despite new biometric systems and better surveillance issue is yet to resolve.

The PTA officials said that the Authority always takes strict action on the complaints of individuals. The chairperson also took notice of incidents of breach of privacy of citizens and said that it is unfortunate, two girls namely Hareem Shah and Sundal Khattak have become top trend on Twitter.

According to PTA, it has sorted out a hundred videos containing unlawful contents for removal and over 90 percent questionable content were removed by TikTok. With a 94 percent complaint resolution record, PTA possess the top position in terms of overall complainant satisfaction on Pakistan Citizen’s Portal (PCP).The PTA is amongst the top ten government entities with successful resolution of complaints on PCP. The PTA apprised the committee that Twitter is not cooperating in closing down the fake accounts.

Senator Rehman Malik said that Twitter management should be asked to close the fake accounts if they don’t take satisfactory actions, PTA should issue warning to stop Twitter services.

The committee recommended the government to initiate an agreement with Twitter management to get information about fake accounts. The list of identified accounts involved in defamation and harassment would be put into the sphere of the law and justice or deactivated permanently.

The chairperson raised question about the fake Twitter account being operated under the name of Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan. The member of the PTA said, “We have asked Twitter to deactivate fake accounts operating with the unauthorized  names, but unfortunately, management is not cooperating with us.” He said, however, one fake account operating with name of Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan has been closed down.

Malik asked PTA to send a delegation to the Twitter headquarters for conveying the concerns of Pakistan about fake accounts with various names.

He further said that the Twitter management should be asked to close the fake accounts and if it does not happen then PTA should issue warning that Twitter would be stopped from working in Pakistan.

Malik said that the action of two girls breaching the privacy should be considered a cyber crime. Senator Faisal Javed said that the privacy of an individual should not be breached. “Disturbing the privacy of any individual should be discouraged. Cyber Crimes Wing of FIA wing is not implementing the laws,” he added.

The committee also directed  PTA to refer the case of character assassination of Dua Mangi by the derogatory remarks of social media users. The committee asked FIA to set a precedent by identifying and convicting the culprits  for offence under section 21 of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016.

“We have not received any direct complaint from the aggrieved person to initiate any action under PECA,“  Pakistan Telecommunication Authority asserted. However, the PTA identified 17 URLs containing the contents maligning the modesty and character of youth Dua Mangi. The action was taken based on the information shared by the Senate secretariat. The same URLs have been processed for blocking under section 20 of PECA as the URLs contain explicit comments with respect to moral character, attire and general reputation of the victim. These include 16 Facebook and one twitter URLs.

The committee expressed displeasure over taking the PTA rules to the cabinet without consulting the committee and following the earlier directions. They are again directed to bring the rules to the committee.

The briefing on Digital Pakistan Program was deferred and it was decided that all stakeholders who have worked on the program shall be called simultaneously to get an all-encompassing orientation.

The meeting was attended among others by Senators Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo, Kalsoom Parveen, Abdur Rehman Malik, Dr Ashok Kumar, Taj Muhammad Afridi, Dr Shehzad Waseem and Faisal Javed Khan, secretary IT&T, additional secretary IT&T, member PTA, director Cyber Crimes FIA, member IT and officials from the ministry.

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