Pakistan Govt. requests for restricting content on Facebook have increased, report reveals

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December 19, 2017
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Facebook has announced the Government Data request report for first part of the year 2017 from January to June. The report shows various requests from different governments around the world. These requests usually made by the law enforcement agencies and telecom authorities of the state authorities include restriction, removal, and data access to specific user accounts. Surprisingly, Pakistan’s request for restricting targeted Facebook Content increased in the first half of the year 2017, according to the report of Pakistan’s request for data by Facebook.

From January to June 2017, Pakistani government made 1,039 requests for different purposes for which 1,512 user accounts were requested for access. Facebook responded to almost 63% of the requests.

Furthermore, the report indicates that Facebook keeps a record of 90 days of the requested accounts/data by the state. In the first half of the year 2017, 399 general preservation requests were made by Pakistani govt, while the score for user account preservation request was 613.

Additionally, the report also reveals that Pakistan’s FIA and PTA have made several legal requests for restriction of the content of accounts and pages, during January to June 2017. As the report states,

“Based on legal requests from the Pakistan Telecom Authority and Federal Investigation Agency, we restricted access to items that were alleged to violate local laws prohibiting blasphemy and condemnation of the country’s independence.”

The number of pieces of content restricted on Facebook during the first half of the year 2017 is around 177. This immense increase in restricted content could be mainly due to the blasphemous content issue raised during the initial period of 2017.

The report also points out the internet disruption of Pakistan which occurred only once in the first half of 2017, which affected Facebook products and services in Pakistan.

The report gives last 5 consecutive years data regarding the requests and the removal of contents in percentages and figures.

The Facebook report also reveals that government agencies usually request access to data of people who use Facebook in response to criminal cases. However, in other cases, the requests are made to restrict some data which the government deems inappropriate.

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