THIS is with reference to the article ‘Saving the internet’ ((June 20) which discussed rather negatively the efforts being made by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to block illegal online content through the Domain Name System (DNS).

Contrary to the assertions made in the article, which reflected lack of technical understanding, the Centralized Domain Control (CDN) mechanism will improve internet speed. Accessing a website from abroad takes around 120ms, while accessing it locally may bring down the time to 2-5ms. Also, CDN will save the bandwidth being utilised, and, thus, will save the foreign exchange being used to buy the bandwidth.

As for the matter of privacy, there system has no monitoring mechanism. DNS by design does not encrypt packets and, hence, DNS queries shall be visible to any intermediatory device, such as internet service provider (ISP) router. The same is the case globally with any other ISP.

Finally, there is no chance the system might “stunt Pakistan’s IT sector expansion and advancement” as the DNS is already decentralised. The existing process of manual blocking under the law is being automated, and, as such, there will be zero impact on internet usage, quality of the internet, cost of the internet services or the privacy of the user. And, indeed, there is no threat to the national information technology (IT) sector.

PTA Spokesperson
Islamabad

Published in Dawn, June 23rd, 2022

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