ISLAMABAD - Google has not assured the government of blocking blasphemous content forthwith, and in a meeting of a Senate sub-committee Thursday its representative said it was only possible if a localised version was launched and for that the website would evaluate its business case for Pakistan and then decide whether or not a localized version would be launched.
Mike Orgill, a Google representative, while briefing a sub-committee of Senate’s Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecom, said that localised version was the only solution to block such content in Pakistan and for that the site needed time to decide.
State Minister for Information Technology and Telecom Anusha Rehman informed the committee that a draft law of cyber crime had been finalized, on which views of international reputed consultant from International Telecommunication Union (ITU) had been sought to make it more comprehensive and in accordance with international standards.
The consultant had arrived in Pakistan and would present his views on the draft law till Monday, after which it would be sent to the Law Ministry for vetting. It is expected that the cyber crime draft bill would be tabled in Parliament by the end of this month, January.
When the minister said that after the law what would be the next step for Google in this regard, the Google official did not give any time period even after getting assurance about legal protection, and said the company would see whether it was financially and technically viable.
The minister further said that under the supervision of PTA chairman a three-member committee had been formed to analyze how Youtube was being operated in other Muslim countries. Furthermore, the committee would help make legislation over the issue, which would be made applicable through an ordinance.
The committee studied the case of 14 countries, where it found out that 13 of them had already gave localized version to Youtube. All these countries had installed filters for blockade of blasphemous content.
Youtube is open in several other Muslim countries, like Saudi Arabia, Malaysia as these countries have agreements with Google and other search engines.
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority chairman Dr Ismail Shah informed the committee that only filters were not the solution to completely block the obnoxious and blasphemous material on the social website in the country. He maintained that only after a localized version of Youtube, blasphemous contents could be block in the country.
The company repeated the commitment of issuing warning about the video “innocent of Muslim” which would be globally visible, giving information about the objectionable videoing. However the Ministry official remained unsatisfied over the offer, saying there was nothing new in this commitment as a similar offer was made in May last year.
The committee recommended to Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to identify links to the objectionable video to Google and the latter would issue warning tab which would be visible globally.