Reports Claim That Pakistan Is Trying To Ban Encryption Under Telco Law

from the yvxr-gung-jvyy-jbex dept

As various governments have tried to clamp down, censor and/or filter the internet, all it's really done is increase interest and usage of encryption tools such as VPNs. Every so often we have commenters who insist that outlawing encryption is the obvious next step for governments, though that suggests an ignorance of the practical impossibility of truly banning encryption -- which, after all, is really just a form of speech. The US, of course, famously toyed with trying to block the export of PGP in the 90s, but finally realized that it would likely lose big time in a court battle. While I could certainly see some politicians here trying to ban certain forms of encryption, I couldn't see any such effort being successful long term.

In other countries, however, they seem ready to make a go of it. Privacy International is reporting that Pakistan is trying to ban the use of encryption, including for VPNs, as part of the implementation of a new telco law (pdf) which requires telcos to spy on their customers. Obviously, encryption makes that tougher, so the response is just to ban it entirely.

But here's the big question: can any such ban really be effective? I mean, if you and I agree on using a simple cipher between us, that's "encryption," but is indistinguishable from "speech" in most contexts. That means any such ban on encryption is effectively and practically useless the moment it goes into effect. There will always be incredibly simple ways around it. Trying to ban encryption is like trying to ban language. You can't reasonably do it.

Filed Under: encryption, pakistan


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  1. identicon
    Dfg, 31 Jul 2011 @ 1:57am

    Hahha, idiots

    Okay, I know most of you're guessing things about Pakistan but let me give you the big scoop; Pakistan is a shithole, yes I know I am being rude but hey I can be rude because I actually live there.

    We have many ISPs but PTCL is the major Internet contractor throughout Pakistan. The Internet service is worse than anything I have ever used before, line drops, disconnections and not to mention other issues. Now, we're already using a crippled system adding something like this rule/filter is just stupid. You know why it's stupid? Because people in Pakistan don't have a clue. The PTCL is a Government component and even if they implement the system they will only make their lives harder.

    They might try to bans certain things but considering their history (Banning Youtube (LAWL)) I don't think they're capable of doing it.

    But hey thanks to this move, I will start using SSL more and get VPNs accounts because honestly I am tired of Pakistan politics. These people are MORONS! Someone gives them the order and without even thinking they just go for it.

    I hope they try to implement this fail, I am going to make sure to complain the f**k out of it :D.

    TL;DR, Pakistani Government and Agencies are idiots. I am surprised they didn't ban the whole Internet already, oh wait they can't hahahaha.

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