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FIA Facing Difficulty In Acquiring Data From Social Media Sites

The Federal Investigation Agency is having trouble acquiring data from social media sites that would aid its investigation of cases pertaining to cybercrime, security and objectionable material.

According to a report in Dawn, this was conveyed by a senior official of the Federal Investigation Agency to the National Assembly Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication.

The official told the parliamentary committee that social networking sites do provide details about any account, but usually take eight weeks for that task.

He apprised the committee that the reason for this delay was that Pakistan was not a signatory to a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, and hence social media sites are not bound to share information regarding their users.

The committee was also informed that that there was a need to analyse how countries who have not signed such a treaty are tackling cybercrime.

Regarding the question of whether Pakistan should become party to the treaty, Additional Secretary Ministry of Information Technology Jawad Paul said, “If we sign the agreement, we will have to abide by its rules. Before moving forward, there is a need to look if we signed the agreement, how our issues will be addressed.”

The parliamentary committee also asked the Ministry of Information Technology to deliberate over signing the treaty and to come up with some working paper at the next meeting. The committee also expressed that it would decide whether or not Pakistan should sign the agreement.

Pakistan currently has signed a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with one country. In order to aid FIA to fight cybercrime, Pakistan would have to sign a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with the country where these social media sites are headquartered in, which would be the United States.

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