Islamabad, July 23, 2015: According to a Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) document (F. No 7-19/2013/PTA, dated 22nd July 2015) sent by a whistleblower to Bytes for All, Pakistan, three cellular service providers providing Blackberry Services have been “requested” to “offer 90 days notice as per existing provisions to their BES customers for closing their BES connections, and ensure that all BES connection of their customers must be closed by or before 30th November 2015.”
The document signed by Mr. Amjad Mustafa Malik, Director Wireless Licensing, PTA, directs Mobilink, Ufone, and Telenor Pakistan to submit a compliance report within 10 days. The given reason for this order mentions “serious concerns by the Security Agency”.
This order does not provide any further details, the nature of these concerns, or the name of the specific security agency involved.
Bytes for All, Pakistan finds this development disturbing, and demands that more information about this notice be made available for public discourse, as this is a matter that directly affects public interest in many ways.
Pakistan has a large number of consumers, who benefit from the secure online communications services offered through Blackberry’s platform that will be compromised if PTA as a national regulator treats this matter without ample consultation with all stakeholders.
The above mentioned document is accessible here.
About Bytes for All, Pakistan
Bytes for All (B4A), Pakistan is a human rights organization and a network of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) professionals and practitioners. It experiments and organizes debate on the relevance of ICTs for sustainable development and strengthening social justice movements in the country. Its mission is “ICTs for development, democracy and social justice”. www.bytesforall.pk
For more information:
Bytes for All, Pakistan
Tel. +92 51 2110494-9