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Federal govt is putting in place a firewall across all ISPs to block unwanted content

The national firewall will serve two primary purposes: identifying the sources of “propaganda material” and subsequently blocking or limiting the visibility of those sources.

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistani government is implementing a national firewall across all internet service providers (ISPs) to enhance control over social media. This firewall aims to block undesirable content from reaching a broader audience.

A source in the government said that the firewall has already been purchased and was currently being installed and commissioned. While Pakistan has previously utilized technology to block websites and social media apps, including the Canada-based Netsweeper, this new firewall will inspect information originating from different internet protocol addresses.

The official stated that the national firewall will serve two primary purposes: identifying the sources of “propaganda material” and subsequently blocking or limiting the visibility of those sources.

“The national firewall will serve two purposes: identify the locations from where the propaganda material is being originated and the subsequent blockade or diminished coverage of those accounts,” the official said in the report. “But, I think the main focus will remain on locating the source of such propaganda to nip the evil in the bud.”

A keyword filtering system will be implemented to detect content deemed undesirable or a threat to national security, likely hiding such content from outside users.

Amnesty International has called for government clarification over the blockade of the platform X.

Khan has refused to meet the FIA team regarding an ‘anti-state social media post.’

This filtering system will apply to major social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and X, formerly known as Twitter.

The government is also preparing measures to prevent the “misuse” of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), potentially requiring citizens to inform the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) about the VPNs they use.

The government has already blocked X for several months, leading many users to access it through VPNs.

Despite some pushback from the corporate community, the government official claimed that the platform’s usage in Pakistan has been cut in half, from 4.5 million to 2.4 million users.

Additionally, the platform’s management has become more responsive to government demands, including the blocking of an account belonging to the Pakistan Ex-Servicemen Society.

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I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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