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How will the Firewall curb unwanted content from the social media? Read it

ISLAMABAD: The government has decided to implement a firewall to regulate social media usage as part of its efforts to prevent “undesirable content” from reaching a broad audience.

The ruling coalition has not yet released specific details about the plan. However, sources said that the firewall would be installed by internet service providers (ISPs), allowing for the filtering of social media data through deep packet inspection (DPI). This would enable data blocking at the IP level rather than the application level.

Reports from last week indicated that the firewall had already been purchased and was in the process of being installed and commissioned. Although Pakistan has previously employed technology, such as the Canada-based Netsweeper, to block websites and social media apps, the new firewall will inspect information from various internet protocol addresses.

The firewall aims to serve two primary functions: identifying sources of “propaganda material” and subsequently blocking or limiting their visibility.

The government has secured agreement from ISPs to implement the firewall, which will utilize DPI—a technique for examining the contents of data packets as they move through a network checkpoint.

The firewall will analyze data up to layer seven, enabling the filtering of social media data. It will identify “propaganda points” on social media and block these points and associated IDs.

The firewall will be installed by ISPs, with costs shared between the government and the internet service providers.

According to the Ministry of Information Technology, ISPs are required to block illegal content and implement measures to prevent such content as per their license agreements.

Additionally, the installation of the firewall falls under the jurisdiction of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority.

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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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