Tuesday, July 14, 2009

E-mail, SMS monitoring: mobile phone companies, ISPs asked to provide customers data

KARACHI (July 14 2009): Following special directives of Interior Ministry to start monitoring e-mails and short messaging service (SMS), the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has asked the mobile telephone companies and internet service providers (ISPs) to provide records pertaining to their customers.

Sources told Business Recorder on Monday that FIA has been directed to maintain records of persons using cell phone and e-mail services. For the purpose, the Agency has sent letters to all cellular companies, asking them to provide complete details regarding both registered and unregistered mobile SIMs.

They said that some of major cell phone service providers (CPSP) are reluctant to facilitate the investigation agency, which would hamper the monitoring process. Sources said that the Cyber Crime Act (CCA) has empowered the agency to take legal action against those companies who are responsible to create hurdles in the investigation.

They said that the campaign is aimed to curb those unidentified elements involved in spreading mala fide content to tarnish the image of the civilian leadership. They said that the ministry has directed FIA to start monitoring these stories and take action against the people involved in this ugly practice under CCA, and added that all necessary arrangements have already been figure out for the purpose.

They dispelled the perception regarding person to person monitoring, saying that it is impossible for the agency to examine each and every e-mail and SMS. Hence, action against cyber criminals would be subjected on the complaints. It is worth mentioning that violators of CCA can be penalised wirh lifetime imprisonment with property confiscation. Any Pakistani living abroad and violating the provisions of the Cyber Crime Act can also be charged under the Act and is liable for deportation to Pakistan.

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