Category Archives: Technology

The ‘Vital Junoonions’ unite for Naya Pakistan

Naya PakistanThe simple yet marvelous Dil Dil Pakistan remains to be the ‘anthem’ of our nation. 25 years later, founding Vital Signs members Shahzad Hassan (Shahi), Salman Ahmad, Nusrat Hussain and Junaid Jamshed (JJ) are collaborating on what they hope to be the new musical sensation — a track titled Naya Pakistan.

Shahi believes that the song has all the right ingredients to make it into an inspirational number for Pakistanis. “It probably will inspire the most cynical of Pakistanis who have completely lost hope. It has that power,” he says.
Express Tribune: The ‘Vital Junoonions’ unite for Naya Pakistan

Will Social Media Play Crucial Role in 2013 Election of Pakistan?

Social Media Vote ElectionsGhulam Sarwar at Pak Zindabad asks – PTI was among the pioneer Political Party, which was using Social media more effectively. The reason behind this was very simple, their mostly supporters were young and Social Media addictive… In Current Scenario it seems that only the PTI, PML-N, Pervez Musharraf, these guys are serious to use Social Media in the Up coming Elections. The sense of Social media is still in developing phase here in Pakistan. It will take time, but the future is very bright” via Gholam Sarver
Pak Zindabad: Will Social Media Play Crucial Role in 2013 Election of Pakistan?shared on Facebook by Awab Alvi

A small mention on TechCrunch during Twitter Blocking

TechCrunch author Ingrid Lunden while covering the Twitter Censorship in Pakistan writes Sure, Draw Some thing, Just not The Prophet [pbuh] – at least one Pakistani blogger/activist (and, yes, dentist) Awab Alvi has raised the point that there may be no direct blasphemy accusation involved today at all… linking to portions of the post Twitter Blocked in Pakistan – Permanently or Weekend Testing?

Twitter Blocked in Pakistan – Permanently or Weekend Testing?

Twitter Blocked in PakistanAs of 1:00pm Sunday Twitter.com has become inaccessible to all users in Pakistan. Practically all ISP’s have reports of users complaining of twitter.com being inaccessible. Ever since the reports emerged we have asked affected users to help test the site from their ISP connections and within minutes we had hundreds of reports The traceroute shows a very interesting fact, the block is at the DNS level, the url is not resolving right from the get go

traceroute twitter.com
traceroute: unknown host twitter.com

When you do a simple traceroute for yahoo.com

traceroute yahoo.com
traceroute: Warning: yahoo.com has multiple addresses; using 72.30.38.140
traceroute to yahoo.com (72.30.38.140), 64 hops max, 52 byte packets
1 192.168.0.10 (192.168.0.10) 2260.190 ms 0.864 ms 0.705 ms
2 203.99.169.18 (203.99.169.18) 24.729 ms 24.442 ms 21.330 ms
3 10.0.2.6 (10.0.2.6) 43.865 ms 43.745 ms 43.108 ms
4 203.99.170.234 (203.99.170.234) 46.673 ms 46.131 ms 45.280 ms
5 rwp44.pie.net.pk (221.120.253.1) 45.757 ms 46.353 ms 43.939 ms
6 rwp44.pie.net.pk (221.120.254.38) 43.749 ms 44.675 ms 44.910 ms
7 static-khi-ni01-swa.pie.net.pk (202.125.128.162) 44.823 ms 44.716 ms 45.713 ms
8 khi77.ptcl.net.pk (202.125.129.110) 181.540 ms 179.108 ms 180.835 ms
9 ge-1-3-0.pat1.ams.yahoo.com (195.69.145.110) 175.123 ms 176.314 ms 176.563 ms

Shows that the pings head to PIE [Pakistan Internet Exchange] in Rawalpindi then to the Karachi PIE server before heading out to Yahoo. Twitter does not even get beyond the first hop

My gutt feeling is that PTA is just testing their URL Filtering system, we had reports of them testing some image servers on facebook last week, and it disappeared by the evening. PTA choose Sunday to avoid any legal backlash exploiting the courts day off. I also dont buy into the argument of Express News that the access to Twitter was blocked due to an ongoing “competition” of Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) caricatures. As no one knew about this “in Pakistan” and it was an unknown issue on twitter to target this portal on Sunday afternoon, there seems to be no evidence to come to that conclusion and feel Tribune should be careful in making such sweeping statements on such a sensitive issue can spark an outlash. I definitely believe they are testing their system. Though the civil society has to its credit a stay order on the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority preventing them from blocking websites obtained on 19th April 2012 which can be used against them.

Once they get through these testing days I am sure it can be later used as and when needed. Though the argument presented by PTA is that it needs this technology to crack down on Terrorism related issue, but one may never know when it can be used for political censorship

STAY GRANTED: Constitutional Petition Preventing PTA from Blocking of Websites

On the 17th of April 2012, seven individuals, Dr. Awab Alvi, Sana Saleem, Faisal Kapadia, Nazim Haji, Naeem Sadiq, Noman Quadri and Ayesha Tammy Haq, through their lawyer Haider Waheed with Basil Nabi Malik, petitioned the High Court of Sindh at Karachi challenging the arbitrary and random acts of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) in blocking/ censoring and restricting access to various websites in violation of the fundamental rights of the owners of the websites/online forums as well as the public at large, and without affording the aggrieved persons an opportunity of being heard or due notice.

It was prayed in the said petition that no website could be blocked/ censored or restricted without affording the aggrieved parties (including the public at large) due notice and an opportunity to be heard in accordance with Articles 4, 9, 10-A, 18, 19, 19A, 20 and 25 of the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973, read with Section 6 of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority Act, 1996.

The Honorable High Court of Sindh issued notice to the Federation of Pakistan, through the Secretary, Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication, and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, through its Chairman, and furthermore ordered the PTA not to block any website other than in accordance with the provisions of the Pakistan Telecommunication (Re-Organization) Act, 1996.

It may be noted that as per the PTA Act, the correct procedure to be followed before blocking or censoring of websites is as per Section 6 of the said Act, which states,

Section 6:  Responsibilities of the Authority.—In exercising its functions and powers under this Act, the Authority shall ensure that—

  • Rights of licensees are duly protected;
  • All of its decisions and determinations are made promptly, in an open equitable, non-discriminatory, consistent and transparent manner;
  • All applications made to it are disposed of expeditiously;
  • The persons affected by its decisions or determinations are given a due notice thereof and provided with an opportunity of being heard;
  • Fair competition in the telecommunication sector exists and is maintained
  • The interests of users of telecommunication services are duly safeguarded and protected.

The said petition has not been made to stop the banning of any website or forum contrary to the rules already laid out by the PTA but has instead the objective of bringing the entire process under judicial review to insure its fairness, transparency and to provide a proper system of redress of the parties owning these websites and forums and protect the fundamental rights of the public at large, including internet users, in Pakistan.
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Maya Khan & Thori Si Bewafai: Putting things in perspective – Citizen Activism

We are all much aware of the recent Maya Khan ordeal, the appalling and shocking display of chutzpah, airing of unnerving footage, the massive reaction of the general public, media and freelance writers, the outcome of such strong reaction, the termination of Maya Khan, the Production Team, etc. A timely public apology was made by Samaa TV which is appreciable, and that is indeed a lot more than what can be said for Ms. Khan’s apology.

Why was it so unacceptable and why did it turn out the way it did. Was it the content of the program? Was it the values depicted in the program? What was the core of it?

An analysis in retrospect clearly indicates what the issue of the masses was, and why was it so close to every heart. Had it been the content of the program or the conduct or values depicted, it will not be an exaggeration when it is mentioned that more than half the programs will be shut down starting from core news programs to comedy shows to dramas wherein we, as viewers watch genocide of our core values, or rather, what we like to portray our values to be.
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This post was submitted by Ali Rahman.

Mera Vote Meri Taqat

Mera Vote Meri TaqatAt the Islamabad Innovation Lab, a team envisioned a new technology called “Mera Vote, Meri Taqat”. It has been created to promote awareness for voters. It is a fact that only 36 million people are registered by ECP & NADRA to be eligible to vote, while 56 million aren’t.

Mera Vote Meri Taqat targets a voter awareness campaign to over a potential 99 million cell phone users in Pakistan engaging them in a dialogue to make them aware of the voting process and thier fundamental right to vote

This is more or less a concept project, which requires fine tuning and details development, to test the concept and a few initial questions SMS [in Pakistan] to 9900 with the keyword “VOTE” then watch the magic happen, more work needs to be done before this is ready for public consumption. Watch the Out of Bounds discussion her

Canadian popstar Kristie Yung sings in Urdu to pay tribute to Alamgir

Kristie Yung & Alamgir on iTunesAlamgir, the man who is regarded as one of the pioneers of pop music in Pakistan, was diagnosed with complete renal failure since 2004 and has been undergoing regular dialysis for the past many years, and has been waiting for a kidney donor which is a three year waiting list he now needs his fans’ help and support.

“I’m trying to raise funds for my treatment and if God wills the people of Pakistan will respond as they always have, with love,” exclaims Alamgir in an interview to Express Tribune.

As a step forward Canadian popstar Kristie Yung records a song in Urdu giving tribute to Alamgir and when you purchase the song from iTunes all proceeds from this song will be given to Alamgir’s Health Fund.

US considered Cyber Attacking Libya & Pakistan

The New York Times is reporting that the United States nearly chose to use “cyber weaponry” just before the American-led strikes against Libya in March by hacking into the Libyan government’s air defense control systems. While the exact techniques remain classified, the goal would have been to break through the firewalls of the Libyan government’s computer networks to sever military communications links and prevent the early-warning radars from gathering information and relaying it to missile batteries aiming at NATO warplanes. But it is reported that the commanding officers balked at the idea fearing that it might set a precedent for other nations, in particular Russia or China

It is then reported that the military commanders again contemplated on using Cyberattack tactics during the Navy Seals raid in Abbottabad that killed Osama bin Laden on May 2.

Naked Security: It is unclear exactly why the US didn’t proceed, but it appears several factors influenced the decision.

Some are suggesting that the urgency of the invasion may not have left an appropriate amount of time for the network attacks to proceed. Gaddafi’s troops were advancing quickly on the rebels, and breaking into their military networks would not have been as simple as it appears in the movies.

Another factor was a US law known as the War Powers Resolution. The President has limited powers to declare war without the approval of the US Congress. Would a cyber attack be construed as assistance to the NATO mission, or an act of war?

Update:- In light of the revelation that the Americans were contemplating to cyber attack Libya & possibly Pakistan. UK Foreign Secretary William Hague declares Britan is prepared to strike first to defend against a cyber attack from an enemy state – Foreign Secretary’s warning to the world is the first clear signal that the UK has developed new weapons for the online battlefield with a estimated £650 million pounds invested in strengthening its resources

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Out of Bounds – Social Media in Pakistan

Dr. Awab Alvi and Faisal Kapadia discuss the future of Social Media in the Out of Bounds show

Jahil Offline with Farigh Liaquat Hussain

A video podcast has just appeared making fun of Jahil Online aka Aamir Liaquat Hussain in response to the controversial video that had recently surfaced where he was caught using profanity in some particular off-air segment.