Pakistan: Punishment for indecent SMS and emails


Punishment for indecent SMS and emails
By Syed Irfan Raza
Monday, 13 Jul, 2009 | 07:42 AM PST |

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The govt announced that sending indecent, provocative and ill-motivated stories and text messages through e-mails and mobile telephone SMS was an offence under the CCA and its violators could be sent behind bars for 14 years. — File Photo

ISLAMABAD: The government announced on Sunday that sending indecent, provocative and ill-motivated stories and text messages through e-mails and mobile telephone Short Messaging Service (SMS) was an offence under the Cyber Crime Act (CCA) and its violators could be sent behind bars for 14 years.

An official announcement by the interior ministry said that the government was launching a campaign against circulation of what it called ill-motivated and concocted stories through emails and text messages against civilian leadership and security forces.

The announcement does not elaborate what is meant by ill-motivated e-messages, but it is believed that the ‘civilian leadership’ meant President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, Interior Minister Rehman Malik and other politicians.

A senior official of the ministry said: ‘Sending indecent message is a crime under the Cyber Crime Act and liable to punishment.’

He said that some elements had been trying to malign the political leadership and security forces engaged in a military operation in Malakand and some areas in Fata.

The government has tasked the Federal Investigation Agency’s Cyber Crime Cell to block or trace such emails and mobile telephones’ SMS.

Under the Cyber Crime Act, violators could be jailed for 14 years, besides confiscation of their property. Similarly, any Pakistani living abroad and violating provisions of the act may be charged and will be liable to deportation to Pakistan.

Under the campaign, all Internet Service Providers would be checked physically by the FIA on a daily basis.

The directive said the campaign would also target proscribed organisations which had been using internet for malicious propaganda against security forces.

The Director General of FIA, Mr Tariq Khosa, has been instructed to monitor and check stories and messages and take necessary action under the CCA.

An FIA official said that strict action would be taken against all culprits in the next few days and the agency had already done a lot of work in this regard.

‘Interpol/Lyon has also been requested to identify those email addresses and websites registered abroad which are being used for such stories,’ the official said.

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