Pak: Internet users banned from browsing privately

The directive is aimed to stop militants from using secure Internet connections.

Karachi: The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has directed all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to prevent Internet users from using technology that would allow them to privately browse the Internet.

A PTA spokesman said that the directive was intended only to stop militants from using secure Internet connections to communicate with each other, but admitted that this could only be done by preventing all Internet users in Pakistan from using virtual private networks (VPNs), The Express Tribune reports.

A VPN allows two or more users to share data without letting anyone else monitor it.

Meanwhile, the PTA has become increasingly aggressive in blocking websites in the country. The entire website of Rolling Stone, a pop-culture and politics magazine, has been blocked since July.

The PTA spokesman confirmed that the website has been blocked, but said he did not know why it had been done so.

A source at an Islamabad-based ISP said that they had been issued a notice to block a blog post by a writer, Matt Taibbi, on the Rolling Stone website, adding that however, ISPs are unable to block specific URLs on websites and have to block the whole domain.

The post in question was titled ‘Pakistan’s insane military spending up there with America’s,’ which quoted a column written by Thomas Friedman of The New York Times that criticised the Pakistan Army for having a vast budget that was used only to guard against India, and not to fight militants.


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