The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) is facing numerous hardships in obtaining data of alleged cybercriminals from the US government as the federal government has yet to sign a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) as well as the cyber crimes clause of Buddha convention.
Director Cyber Crimes Wing FIA informed the Senate Standing committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication that contrary to India and most of the Middle East countries, Pakistan has no access to cybercrimes data due to the absence of MLAT with US where the data resides, obstructing in curbing cybercrimes. The committee met with Rubina Khalid in the chair here on Thursday.
Pakistan Needs to Sign the MLAT with the US to Control Cyber Crime
Unlike Pakistan, countries like Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, Indonesia, and Malaysia have entered into agreements with the US. Even India has signed the MLAT with the US and because of this New Delhi is able to get access to objectionable contents within 24 hours. Pakistan needs to sign the MLAT with the US to remove the objectionable contents and have access to cybercrimes data, the committee recommended.
FIA is also facing difficulties in getting social media apps (OTT) data. Further content blocking is the mandate of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) while FIA has only to investigate. The Agency is also facing financial constraints to procure the latest equipment and gadgets to eliminate the menace of cybercrimes more effectively, the official added.
The committee expressed serious concerns over the rising number of cybercrimes in the country and observed that with each passing day and more technological advancement, the challenge is going to be complicated. The committee was informed that the number of complaints registered after the enactment of PECA-2016, total numbers of complaints registered are 42447, enquirers registered 9625, complaints disposed off 16689, pending complaints 16163, FIRs registered 936, accused arrested 904 and 66 convictions during the said period. The fine imposed by the courts is Rs 10.694 million. However, FIA admitted that the ratio of cybercrimes in Pakistan is increasing day by day.
The FIA official informed the committee that due to the increasing trend of cybercrimes in Pakistan, FIA Cyber Clime Unit (NR3C) has increased the number of its cybercrime reporting centers from 5 to 15. The strength of cyber investigators at cyber crime reporting centers is to be increased to meet the growing challenges and volume of cyber complaints in Pakistan. All the cybercrime reporting centers are to be equipped with state-of-art digital forensic capabilities, which will enable to conduct forensic analysis of laptops, computers, mobile, iPad, etc.
The committee directed FIA, Ignite, PTA and Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication for strong coordination to overcome cyber crimes as well the increasing trend of child phonograph, kidnapping, raping and murder.
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