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Lack of provision of record from international organizations such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Microsoft and WhatsApp often leads to dead end of investigations into transactional electronic cyber crimes in the country.

This was revealed by director Cyber Crime Wing, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), while briefing the National Assembly Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication. The committee met with Ali Khan Jadoon in the chair here on Tuesday.

The director Cyber Crime Wing apprised the committee that investigations of transactional electronic cyber crimes require the record from international organization such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Microsoft, and WhatsApp etc. He added that the servers of all companies are outside Pakistan and lack of provision of record from these companies has often led to dead end of the investigation. The most resilient way of obtaining fruitful results of Cyber Crime Investigation is by signing the Mutual Legal Assistant Treaty (MLAT) to get provision of digital record from outside Pakistan, he added.

The director also informed the committee that FIA shall be the designated agency for extending or requesting international cooperation under the Pakistan Electronic Crime Act, 2016 and may fully utilize Interpol for extending/seeking intelligence cooperation in cyber crime related cases. The Cyber Crime Wing may seek or extend cooperation to any foreign government, international organization or agency through M/o Interior for investigation of an offence under the said act. The committee showed its displeasure on the absence of secretary interior from the meeting.

The director general National Information Technology Board (NITB) informed the committee that E-Office has been implemented in 31 ministries including 48 departments out of 42 ministries/divisions and the implementation of the said application is pending in remaining 11 ministries due to non-availability of required infrastructure. The procurement of required infrastructure is in process and will be completed in the next financial year subject to the release of funds by Finance Division.

While briefing on vacant positions of senior management in the ministry and its attached departments, the additional secretary M/o IT & Telecom informed the meeting that the said posts will be filled by the ministry within two-and-a-half-month.

To develop the digital app for accessing the data regarding the meetings of the Standing Committee on IT & Telecom, the additional secretary requested the committee to nominate a focal person so that NITB team can analyze and initiate development process. The committee nominated Kanwal Shauzab and Romina Khursheed Alam, MNAs, as focal persons for the said purpose.

The CEO Universal Service Fund (USF) informed the committee that at present, USF is in the process of identification of under-served areas of rural Islamabad after which approval of the federal government will be sought. Once approved by the federal government, funds will be allocated, and projects will be launched for coverage of mobile broadband services to under-served rural areas of Islamabad. The USF shall utilize funds exclusively for providing access to telecommunication services to people in the un-served, under-served, rural and remote areas. As per the directions of the standing committee, the USF teams performed drive tests in Pind Bigwal, Pehont and Kijnah areas on 16th December, 2019 where coverage of all four cellular operators i.e. Telenor, CMPak, PTML (Ufone) and PMCL (Jazz) was assessed.

The meeting was attended by MNAs Sahibzada Sibgatullah, Kanwal shauzab, Nusrat Waheed, Romina Khursheed Alam, Ali Gohar Khan, Ayesha Rajab Ali, Maiza Hameed, Shamim Ara Panhwar, Mahesh Kumar Malani and Syed Mehmood Shah. The meeting was also attended by the senior officers of the Ministry of IT & Telecom, NTC, NITB and FIA.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019