Information Technology (IT) has assumed unprecedented importance in the Global Economic Arena. In Pakistan, the present government is according a very high priority to this sector. One of the prerequisites for ensuring sustained growth of the Industry, maybe the Economy, is the provision of a definite framework consisting of Policy, Legislative, Financial, and Operational Guidelines, which can provide a stable umbrella for growth.
Thus, the Government, as the main facilitator, enabler, and promoter of the IT Sector, has evolved an effective National IT Policy and Action Plan that clearly caters to the needs of nurturing the Industry and is responsive to the dynamic forces of change that can affect its future growth. The Private Sector is being brought into the mainstream as the main driver for growth. The guiding theme for the Policy is that 'The Government shall be the facilitator and enabler to encourage the Private Sector to drive the development in IT and Telecommunications'. This one single element has galvanized the entire Pakistani IT Community to participate wholeheartedly in the process and over 200 Professionals mainly from the Private Sector participated in various dialogues and eleven working groups meetings over the last four months to devise a comprehensive Policy and Action Plan Document.
The vision of the policy is to harness the potential of Information Technology as a key contributor to the development of Pakistan and the broad-based involvement of the key stakeholders is a must for its sustainable development. Core IT Policy Strategies have been proposed under several focus areas and some of the lead recommendations in each area are as follows:
Human Resource (HR) development is imperative for the local IT Industry to position the country as an important player in the international IT Market. Under the Hr Action Plan, a large pool of academically as well as technically skilled IT manpower would be developed to meet the local and export needs. The policy accordingly envisages the establishment of four new IT Universities, Virtual IT University, National Testing and Accreditation Services and Educational Intranet, strengthening of existing IT Institutes and hiring of faculty from abroad. A major portion of the funds under the IT action plan would be dedicated towards hr development initiatives.
The local IT Industry requires a world class enabling infrastructure. An exercise for deployment of this infrastructure would be undertaken and a series of IT Parks and Incubators across the country would be established. These parks will be equipped with modern facilities and matchless incentives, to provide a one-stop shop for prospective investors in the IT Industry. Telecom infrastructure would be modernized to carry broadband access in the backbone and local loops. Other steps include the establishment of IT boards in Provinces (except Punjab where it exists already), increasing tele density and the introduction of new technologies such as Wireless Local Loop for data and cable internet.
Software development is a high growth industry and forms a major segment of the vast IT market and will continue to do so in the future. Integrated efforts to develop software industry with focus on exports (in addition to the local market) would be undertaken. this would include encouragement of local software houses to participate in government projects, local content development, Urdu and regional language software development, promotion of software exports through establishment of international marketing network, special bandwidth rates for software exporters, encouraging joint ventures, hiring of international consultants for global business development and fiscal and regulatory incentives for software exporters through the state bank of Pakistan.
The Policy recommendations in the area of hardware industry development do not seek to initiate aggressive competition with the developed countries. Rather, they focus on developing the areas that are within Pakistan’s reach, in terms of technology and resources and in which the country could have a competitive advantage. Major recommendations include the waiver of duties and taxes on the hardware, incentives to reduce the cost of raw material and inputs, encourage and fund research and development in the universities and engineering colleges through faculty chairs, matching grants and focused joint projects.
The internet is likely to continue to revolutionize the way people communicate and access information. The basic principles adopted for the Internet growth in the country would be to encourage competition, avoidance of un-necessary regulations, provision of low cost, reliable and broadband Internet access, universal internet access in the areas connected with the telecom network, free internet access for public sector universities and support for the development of national internet content.
The government has invested in various fiscal and non-fiscal incentives to nurture, develop, and promote the use of IT in organizations, to increase their efficiency and productivity. The strategies focus on promotion of venture capital industry through incentives, recognition of software development as a priority industry for financing by the banks and DFIs, creation of investment friendly environment, building investors' confidence and changes in rules to allow the technology companies to be listed on stock exchanges of Pakistan.
The government of Pakistan guarantee to facilitate profitability, and efficiency for investors in information technology every step of the way.15 year corporate tax exemption for information technology companies.
100% repatriation of profits allowed to IT sector companies.100% foreign equity allowed in IT sector.
0% custom duties and tariffs on import of all IT related equipment.7 year tax holiday for venture capital funds.
0% income tax liability for software development firms.0% sales tax liability on sales of computer software and hardware.
Pakistan's telecom is among the world's widest covering and most sophisticated. Fiber optic infrastructure, initially laid in the early 1990s, now accounts for well over 85% of the backbone that supports international and national exchange of data.
The government has proactively worked with the national telecom giant, PTCL, to reduce rates, improve access, and increase the level of quality that is delivered. Voice-over-IP and other related auxiliary services are being integrated into the core of the telecom industry.
Perhaps most importantly, the telecom sector is to be fully de-regulated in January 2003.
Rapid response delivery mechanism in place-leased lines delivered in 8 weeks or earlier.Internet access expansion from 29 cities in August 2000 to over 1000 cities and towns by December 2003.
Activation of 155 Mbits IP connectivity.De-regulation of internet delivery on cable TV full permission granted.
DSL deployment in local loop for broadband internet access.Introduction of calling party pays (CPP) regime to boost wireless telecom resulting in explosive growth.
License processing time period for telecom services reduced to 7 days.Enhancement of infrastructure for IT/ISPs (PRIs and Digital Cross Connect).
Islamabad, the capital, described by foreign journalists as the virtual Shangri-la of world capitals. Ranked among the best cities of Asia, by Asiaweek Magazine. Offering unlimited supplies of low-cost labour, bandwidth, real estate, and most significantly, Pakistan's first Software Technology Park.
The jewels in Pakistan's IT profile crown, software technology parks were initiated to provide a haven of highly sophisticated, technologically robust, low cost centers of excellence in software development. Due to high demand, the initial phase of the establishment software technology parks has been followed up with detailed plans for new facilities.
Pakistan's software technology parks offer one-stop, one-window solutions to the logistical and functional requirements for setting up an IT business in the country.
Included in this rent, air-conditioning, security, power generation services.Residential real estate: 3-bedroom houses/apartments in the upscale localities of urban Pakistan, average under US$ 300 a month.
Internet bandwidth: US$ 6000 per month for 2Mbit connections.Cellular phone charges: unlimited incoming, outgoing calls under US$ 0.10 a minute.
Electricity charges: commercial rates under US$ 0.10 per kilowatt-hour.Average salaries for IT professionals under US$ 6000 per annum.
Average salaries for clerical staff under US$ 2000 per annum.
And the most important reason why you should do business in Pakistan is also the simplest one. It costs less, far less, to do business here, than anywhere else.
A massive IT promotion and awareness campaign would be undertaken. The national strategy includes provision of continued support and funds by the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) for the participation in world IT/ computer trade fairs, exchange of delegations, posting of IT specialists in embassies and consulates, promotion of IT use by the head of the government, ministers, and all other key figures who can influence public opinion at all public and private forums, declaration of the next fiscal year as 'IT Year' and organization of special events during the current year including national and international exhibitions.
To embark on an aggressive program to improve efficiency and provide quality services to the citizens of Pakistan, IT would be inducted at all levels of government. Key projects thus launched would include Government Online, Electronic Governance Project and E-Commerce Network.
To provide protection and enhance the confidence of users, providers, and facilitators of information services, legislation based on the recommendations of the working group comprising IT and legal experts would be framed. Action in the areas of Digital Signature Act, Intellectual Property & Copyright Act and the Consumer Protection Act, has been started. The government should seek legislative approval of changes to statutes that will encourage electronic commerce and revise statutes that mandate a paper-based or manual process.
A regulatory framework is essential to avoid violating policy goals and direction. It would be ensured that excessive regulations do not stifle industry investment and growth. In devising a useful regulatory framework, the focus would be on creating a fair, equitable and competitive environment, based on the principles of free market and open access.
The IT Action Plan is an integral part of the IT policy. The Action Plan provides a framework for implementation of the IT Policy which includes priority areas, specific projects that can be conceptualized, formulated, assessed, prioritised and implemented. The implementation of the Action Plan is very much dependent on the funding provision for the IT & tele- communications division and the mechanism from project approval to funds release so that projects could be implemented in a timely fashion to achieve the desirable results in the shortest span of time. A separate mechanism for expeditious project appraisal by experts' committees, approval and funding under National Scientific and Technological Research and Development Management Fund has been developed and would be submitted separately to the cabinet for approval.
The main allocation of funds has been foreseen for training, re-training, human resource development and provisioning of enabling infrastructure. There are a host of other incentives, which could be done at low or no cost, which include changes in governmental processes, legislation, administrative elements, incentives and rules. Some of these have already been submitted to the relevant quarters for approval whereas others are in the pipeline. A system of monitoring, surveying and compiling statistics on the extent and growth of the IT sector will also be devised to provide reliable data for planning and evaluation purposes and to set up performance indicators. The IT Action Plan will be implemented according to its well-defined phased targets and objectives. To ensure that the plan meets its objectives consistently and that suitable midcourse corrections can be incorporated in a timely manner, a mechanism will be set up involving the government, private sector, academia and other national representatives to coordinate and implement the policy and plan elements and provide strategic supervision over the longer term. The IT Policy and Action Plan being a dynamic document, would be subjected to formal review under this mechanism every six months, with more area-specific monitoring carried out on a monthly basis.
Copyright (Amendment) Act, 1992 (The Amendment Act) is now extended to cover computer software. It is illegal to make or distribute copies of computer programs without authorization. No other copies may be made without specific authorization from the copyright owner.
Pakistan's copyright law prohibits reproduction of software without permission from the owner of the copyrighted computer program. If caught with pirated software, you or your company may be prosecuted under the provisions of the Copyright Laws. The penalties under the law include a fine of up to Rs.200,000, seizure of products used for illegal copying, and a prison sentence of up to three years.
Your first responsibility as a software user is to purchase original programs for your use, every computer at your place of business must have its own set of original software and accompanying documentation. It is illegal to purchase a single copy of original software to load onto more than one computer, or to lend, copy or distribute software for any reason without the prior consent of the software manufacturer. When purchasing software, make sure you buy legitimate products. Many counterfeit packaged products are designed to look similar to the original manufacturer's products but are of inferior quality. Purchasers and users of counterfeit or copied software face unnecessary risks: viruses, corrupt disks, or otherwise defective software (or illegally copied).
Lack of technical product support available to registered users
Lack of software upgrades offered to registered users.
In addition, if you purchase software that is counterfeit or copied, you not only deny the software developer its rightful revenue, you harm the industry as a whole. All software developers, both big and small, Pakistani or foreign spend literally years developing software for public use. A portion of every rupee spent in purchasing original software is funneled back into research and development so that better and more advanced software may be produced. When you purchase counterfeit software, your money goes directly into the pockets of software pirates.
Government commitment to law enforcement
The Pakistan Government will protect the rights of copyright owners.
Surprise raids will be conducted and deterrent penalties will be imposed.
These raids against software pirates will continue to encourage the
purchase of original software.
Cyber Security/Warfare and Pakistan
While the government of Pakistan focuses on fighting terrorism and extremism under the National Action Plan (NAP), another threat seems to be looming on the horizon, i.e. cyber warfare. “The advent of information age has profoundly impacted the thinking of states as well as sub-state groups in regard to warfare and security. While the state remains the principal political entity on the world stage, the diffusion of technologies and relevant knowledge has transcended borders and boundaries at a rapid speed.”
Modern day life depends on online services as one shops online, works online, plays online and hypothetically lives online. As our lives increasingly depend on digital services, the need to protect our information from being maliciously disrupted or misused is really important. The internet has become an uncontrollable creature. Mobile devices such as phones and tablets are more insecure as compared to personal computers and laptops.
The first spam email took place in 1978 when it was sent out over the Arpanet (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network). The first virus was installed on an Apple computer in 1982. The UK police arrested 16-year-old student, nicknamed “Data Stream”, in 1994. FBI’s e-mail system was hacked in February 2005. Travelling documents of NATO forces were hacked in Afghanistan. Denial of Service (DoS) attacks by “Mafia Boy” on eBay, Yahoo! and other popular sites took place in 2000. Swedish bank Nordea was hit with possibly the biggest internet fraud in history as around £600,000 (1 million US$) was stolen in three months from 250 customer accounts by obtaining the account information through an anti-spam software sent by emails.
Any activity is called cyber-crime where computers or networks are a tool, a target, or a place of criminal activity. Any use of a computer as an instrument to further illegal ends, such as committing fraud, stealing identities, and violating privacy is a crime. It also includes traditional crimes in which computers or networks are used to enable an illicit activity. As the computer has become central to commerce, entertainment, and government, cyber-crime has grown in importance. The main objectives of modern cyber crime include destructive purposes, intelligence collection, and economic espionage. There are following main types of cyber-crime:
E-Mail Bombing: Email bombing refers to sending a large amount of e-mails resulting in interruption in the victims’ e-mail account or mail servers.
Data Diddling: This kind of an attack involves altering the raw data just before it is processed by a computer and then changing it back after the processing is completed.
Salami Attacks: These attacks are used for the commission of financial crimes. A bank employee inserts a programme into bank’s servers, which deducts a small amount from the account of every customer.
Denial of Service: This involves flooding computer resources with more requests than it can handle. This causes the resources to crash thereby denying authorized users the service offered by the resources.
Cyber Crime in Pakistan
Cyber-crime rises rapidly in Pakistan. There are about 30 million internet users with 15 million mobile subscribers in Pakistan. According to Cyber Crime Unit (CCU), a branch of Federal Investigation Agency, only 62 cases were reported to the unit in 2007, 287 cases in 2008, ratio dropped in 2009 but in 2010, more than 312 cases were registered. But unreported incidents of cyber-crime are huge in numbers.
Laws in Pakistan
Laws regulating cyber-crimes in Pakistan have never been impressive. People of Pakistan hardly have any idea about the existence of such laws. There had been an “Electronic Transactions Ordinance 2002”, which mostly dealt with banking. But the first ever pertinent law, i.e. “Pakistan’s Cyber Crime Bill 2007”, which focuses on electronic crimes, i.e. cyber terrorism, criminal access, electronic system fraud, electronic forgery, misuse of encryption etc has been there. But if one sees its implementation, the statistics are poor.
The current government is planning to introduce first ever comprehensive law, i.e. “Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill 2015”, which is struggling for oxygen as it was tabled in National Assembly (NA) of Pakistan but could not be approved due to criticism on its content. As per critics, there are many ambiguities in definitions of certain sections/clauses. It focuses more on moral aspects of internet use than cyber-crime itself. The Section 31of the proposed bill says that the govt could block access to any website “in the interest of the glory of Islam or the integrity, security or defence of Pakistan or any part thereof, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency or morality….” Now the question arises who is to decide what undermines the integrity of Pakistan, or its relations with other states? Who exactly are the “friendly foreign states”, and where would countries with which Pakistan has fluctuating ties such as the United States (US) be placed?
The government should see whether it is in line with the implementation of the National Action Plan to counter terrorism? Because, soon after 9/11, to fight terrorism effectively at home, the US Congress passed the “Patriot Act”, which curtailed certain rights given by the US Constitution under the bill of rights (first ten amendments). Pakistan government should also introduce such laws that could not only address cyber-crimes but cyber terrorism. Because, in modern terrorist environment, terrorists/non-state actors make full use of internet for fund raising, propaganda, threats and recruitment, etc. The new law must be crystal clear in its definitions so that it could not be used for or against through different interpretations of the sections/clauses.
Cyber security as a concept represents a radical departure from the previous view of IT-related security. In the past, security was often viewed as a separate discipline or as an afterthought. Cyber Security acknowledges that Information Technology (IT) security must be symbiotic from now on.
Cyber warfare is by nature asymmetric, when conducted by traditional nation-state opponents. It is non-kinetic only in the most direct sense, if one views cyber operations separate from conventional operations. As soon as one considers conventional operations that rely on IT capability can become both Kinetic and non-Kinetic in nature.
Cyber-attacks can be real-time events or time-delayed events. These can originate from anywhere or be triggered from anywhere and originate from within. They occur in multi-dimension cyber space as well as in conventional warfare frames of reference. Cyber security is not something that will go away. As long as our infrastructure remains networked and interdependent cyber security will remain critical.
Cyber warfare is internet-based conflict involving politically motivated attacks on information and information systems. Cyber warfare attacks can disable official websites and networks, disrupt or disable essential services, steal or alter classified data, and cripple financial systems – among many other possibilities. It is getting complicated as there is no longer any realistic expectation of a single solution or even a single family of solutions that can provide a comprehensive approach to the problem space. It is personal as cyber security issues now impact every individual who uses a computer. It is no longer science fiction – millions of people worldwide are the victims of cyber-crimes. It is a business as almost every business today is dependent on information and vulnerable to one or more types of cyber-attacks. It is war; in fact it is already becoming the next Cold war. Cyber operations are also becoming increasingly integrated into active conflicts. Even the US President Obama remarked on May 29, 2009 at 60-Day Cyber Space Policy Review, “Our interconnected world presents us, at once, with great promise but also great peril.”
Pakistan and Cyber Warfare/Security
The Internet security company McAfee stated in its 2007 annual report that approximately 120 countries have been developing ways to use the internet as a weapon and target financial markets, government computer systems and utilities. The US is being called the number one “watching country” and snooping is a common feature in the US. It is an open secret that Edward Snowden – an American computer specialist and former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee and National Security Agency (NSA) contractor – disclosed up to 200,000 classified documents to the press.
Indian hackers often hacked and penetrated the government websites of Pakistan and left derogatory messages. In “Operation Hangover” against Pakistan, cyber analysts in Norway claimed that hackers based in India have been targeting government and military agencies in Pakistan since 2010 and extracting information of national security interest to India.
“Black Dragon Indian Hackers Online Squad” defaced official websites of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), apparently annoyed by PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s remarks about Kashmir, Pakistan Railways, National University of Modern languages (NUML), Quaid-e-Azam Public College, Gujranwala, Pakistan Electric Power Company (Private) Limited, and National Manpower Bureau.
Cyber Warfare and Other States
The Internet security company McAfee stated in its 2007 annual report that approximately 120 countries have been developing ways to use the internet as a weapon and target financial markets, government computer systems and utilities. Major powers increasingly rely on digital networks for critical services. The US turns to a cyber-arms race, quite similar to the nuclear arms race, is building up stockpiles of software and malware to attack computer systems of rival states. China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia have demonstrated an ability to conduct robust cyber activity.
North Korean cyber actors are suspected of having conducted destructive operations that compromised South Korea’s national identification system – damage that may cost more than US$1 billion and over a decade to repair. The US suspects Iran’s involvement in a 2012 cyber-attack against two energy firms, one in Saudi Arabia and another in Qatar, that destroyed data and crippled thirty thousand computers.
The US financial firms subsequently suffered tens of millions of dollars in losses resulting from Iranian denial-of-service attacks launched in retaliation for economic sanctions. In 2014, Iran became the first country to carry out a destructive cyber-attack on US soil when it damaged the network of Las Vegas Sands after its chairman advocated a nuclear strike against the country.
Pakistan’s digital infrastructure is vulnerable. About cyber espionage, one knows who, how, where, and why it matters? But there is paucity of knowledge about “what to do”? Pakistan does have cyber-crime law but unfortunately it is not being implemented effectively. There is also a lack of awareness about the law.
There is need of holding workshops and seminars to create awareness among the masses.
There must be severe actions against criminals.
Anti-virus and anti-spam soft wares should be installed.
Vulnerability assessment of famous Apps for smart phone may be done.
“National cyber security awareness day” be organised to make people aware of this.
With hyperactive social media in Pakistan, it is critical to study the potential and limitations of the internet.
It is crucial academics to try and better understand the landscape of internet in Pakistan.
Cyber-attacks and defence should eventually be part of Pakistan’s military strategy.
Cyber defences, elevation of the role of the private sector, and support research need improvement.
“Bureau of Internet and Cyberspace Affairs” should be established in the Ministry of Information Technology.
Emergency mechanisms for dealing with internet attacks be developed.
Formation of a Cyber Working Group (CWG) between Pakistan and India should be discussed with India to make it part of the “Composite Dialogue” to have regular discussions on the subject to avert the possibility of resorting to cyber warfare.
Developed by Webmaster Abbas Shahid Baqir
Webmaster Feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org
All Rights Reserved Copyright, 2010-2020 Student Shelter In Computers ®