Pakistan cybersecurity policy approved, says PTA

By Staff Reporter | The News International Jul 30, 2021

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on Thursday announced that the Pakistan Cybersecurity policy has been approved and a cybersecurity agency will be formed under it. 

The major revelations were made today during a meeting of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Defence, headed by Amjad Ali Khan at the Parliament House.

“A central institution, named as Cyber Security Agency, will be established under the policy where all the concerned agencies would work together,” apprised the PTA officials.

Officials of the PTA revealed that Pegasus was used to conduct secret surveillance across the world. However, Pakistan Army took immediate action after being notified about the espionage and imposed restrictions on the smartphones, they added.

Responding to Members' queries, a PTA official added that software like Pegasus use zero-day exploits in which a mobile phone can be controlled so that all communication could be copied by the hacker. He said that encrypted communication of WhatsApp and some other apps, however, cannot be decrypted.

He further stated that Google has all the records of PTA’s cyber activity.

During the meeting, Member of National Assembly (MNA) Retd Major Tahir Sadiq remarked that it has been 13 years since the formulation of anti-cybercrime laws.

What efforts have been made for the implementation of these laws, he inquired.

At this, the Interior Ministry's additional secretary maintained that the Pakistani laws are not acknowledged anywhere in the world, which is a major obstacle in their implementation.

FATF makes ‘country-to-country coordination’ possible

Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) Cybercrime Unit director told the meeting that earlier, the ‘country to country coordination’ in various affairs was impossible but the Financial Action Task Force has made it possible now.

Additional secretary informed that the Mutual Legal Assistance Act has been passed, which would enable Pakistan to make pacts with other countries. In addition to this, PTA has created a system to restrict data leakage.

We have been introduced as a country possessing safe cyberspace, claimed the additional secretary.

Cybercrime Unit faces obstacles 

The FIA’s Cybercrime Unit director also talked about efforts needed to curb cybercrime and the implementation of laws against it.

According to the FIA, there are numerous pending cases, while only 34% of the complaints could be responded to despite separate complaint registering portals allocated by social media platforms.

Apart from this, the only responses received were for the complaints pertaining to child pornography, claimed the FIA’s cybercrime unit director.

Standing Committee Chairperson Khan assured the officials of offering their support and resolving all their issues. 

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