The Pakistani government wants to monitor online traffic across the country. Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) recently directed the telecom industry in the country to present a technical solution that can help the government to monitor, analyze and control grey traffic.
The system is to be called “Web Monitoring System (WMS)” which will monitor communications for the purposes of national security, measure and record traffic, call data record, and quality of services according to the specifications of PTA.
Under Monitoring and Reconciliation of International Telephone Traffic Regulations 2010 (MRITT), the government can monitor and block any traffic (encrypted or not) including voice and data starting or ending in Pakistan and carries over all encrypted VoIP services.
The Senate Standing Committee has also shown concern over the authorities decision to award the contract to the US-based Sandvine Corporation, a firm which is allegedly working as a partner with the Israeli intelligence. PTA in response told the committee that it has obtained an undertaking from the vendor (Inbox Business Technologies) and the manufacturer company Sandvine Inc., the USA for any possible involvement of hostile element.
This raises a lot of questions regarding the safety of the user’s data as well as the transparency of the system which can be used to control the media accessible to the masses. Even though the security agency has been involved to conduct a security audit of the system to find out any loopholes and vulnerabilities in the system, the power to access to all digital information, including WhatsApp is too big to tempt the unsavory people into exploiting the system.