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ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has expressed its helplessness in blocking all offensive content and pornographic websites on the Internet.

In a report submitted on Thursday to the Supreme Court over identical petitions, seeking a ban on objectionable websites, the PTA said: “Technically, 100 per cent blocking of websites containing offensive material is not possible because numerous proxy sites are being built every single day."

“In addition, lots of new websites are also being made and uploaded on a daily basis. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and proxies are also used to access these sites, despite blocking.”

The report further stated that the blocking of unwanted content is not a one-time job as it is a continuous process and required regular funding. “Since the technology is upgraded with the time therefore upgrading the content blocking system will be an ongoing process,” it said.

The report maintained that the continuous blocking of websites at a massive scale will also lead to “deteriorating internet quality in terms of speed and availability”.

However, the report said that a dedicated cell had been functioning in the PTA since 2012 to comb the web for objectionable material, which was searching for and acting against obnoxious content.

According to the report, “the PTA has identified and blocked 84,000 websites containing objectionable contents.

Furthermore, a list of 400,000 obscene websites has been circulated to all internet service providers [and] licensees of PTA for blocking on domain level, which is under process and compliance is being served.”

In the report, the PTA confirmed that it had blocked around 200,000 links containing obscene material thus far.

Published in Dawn, February 5th, 2016