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Monday, July 15, 2024

Government allows ISI to record calls, check Whatsapp messages

It also states that the government will have preference and priority in the telecommunication system over any licensee for the defense or security of the country against any foreign aggression.

The Federal Government of Pakistan allows the country’s top spy agency, ISI to trace messages and record calls for the sake of national security.

According to the notification, ISI has been allowed to record calls under Section 54 of the Pakistan Telecommunication Act 1996. The designated officer not below Grade 18 will be able to record calls from any telecommunication system, as per the notification.

This, perhaps, gives the agency authorities to record calls from different applications including WhatsApp.

It also states that the government will have preference and priority in the telecommunication system over any licensee for the defense or security of the country against any foreign aggression.

“The federal government in the interest of national security and in the apprehension of any offense is pleased to authorize the officers […] to be nominated from time to time by ISI to intercept calls and messages or to trace calls through any communication system,” read the notification issued by the Ministry of Information on Monday.

The move is part of the wider policy network to control the content on social media, which means applying stricter regulations on social media. Meanwhile, social media application, X (formerly known as Twitter) is already banned in the country.

Read more: Meta’s WhatsApp introduces forwarding feature for iOS channels

Moreover, the government is also planning to install a national firewall on different internet service providers (ISPs). These firewalls will have the capability to block unwanted content from reaching a wider audience.

“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”. He added: “But, I think the main focus will remain on locating the source of such propaganda to nip the evil in the bud,” said an official who was aware of the information.  This filter will run a check on social media applications of YouTube, X, and Facebook.