Home » Pakistan Installs National Firewall to Control Social Media Content

Pakistan Installs National Firewall to Control Social Media Content

by Mohammed Ahmed
Pakistan Installs National Firewall to Tighten Social Media Control

Islamabad, Pakistan – The Pakistani government is in the process of installing a national firewall across various internet service providers (ISPs) to exert greater control over social media and block undesirable content. This initiative, confirmed by multiple sources, is part of a broader strategy to regulate online information and curb the spread of “propaganda material.”

A government official disclosed that the firewall has already been purchased and is currently being installed and commissioned. While Pakistan has previously employed technologies like the Canada-based Netsweeper to block websites and social media apps, this new firewall is designed to inspect data originating from different internet protocol addresses.

“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 explained. “But, I think the main focus will remain on locating the source of such propaganda to nip the evil in the bud.”

The new system includes a keyword filtering mechanism to detect and hide content deemed undesirable or a threat to national security. This filtering will be applied to major social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and X (formerly known as Twitter).

Additionally, the government plans to regulate the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). Citizens might be required to inform the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) about the VPNs they use, aiming to prevent the “misuse” of these networks. The platform formerly known as Twitter has been blocked for several months, leading users to access it through VPNs.

The government official claimed that the platform’s usage in Pakistan has decreased significantly, from 4.5 million to 2.4 million users, since the blockage, and that the platform’s management has become more responsive to government demands, including the blocking of an account belonging to the Pakistan Ex-Servicemen Society.

Pakistan had sought to utilize firewall technology similar to China’s Great Firewall but was denied access. Discussions with China did not progress further, leading Pakistan to continue using a web monitoring system purchased from a Canadian firm in 2018 during Imran Khan’s government. Both China and Russia have formidable firewalls that heavily censor internet access for their domestic audiences, serving as models for Pakistan’s efforts.

The implementation of this national firewall marks a significant step in Pakistan’s approach to controlling online content, raising concerns about digital censorship and the regulation of free speech on the internet.

Leave a Comment

About Us

At Pakistani Index, we are committed to bringing our readers up-to-the-minute news, insightful analysis, and comprehensive coverage of events shaping Pakistan and the world. Founded in 2020 by a group of seasoned journalists and media professionals, our mission is to inform, educate, and inspire the community we serve.