Cellcos abandon ‘vulgar’ tariffs after PTA reveals recording calls with ‘obscene content’

3 Dec 2012

Pakistan’s wireless operators have withdrawn a petition in the Islamabad High Court to overturn the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority’s (PTA’s) ruling banning low-rate tariffs at off-peak times on the basis that the offers encourage ‘vulgarity’, Pro Pakistani reports. The cellcos abandoned the case after the PTA submitted its reply to the court along with transcripts of late-night calls that the authority had intercepted, which included ‘obscene content.’ Pakistan’s cellcos are obliged to allow the government access to voice and SMS communications in the interest of national security, though this is reportedly the first occasion that the PTA has publicly admitted to recording private conversations of consumers. Pro Pakistani cites an unnamed legal expert as saying that intercepting the calls of customers that are not involved in a chargeable offence does not come under the umbrella of ‘national security,’ adding that making the conversations public is the ‘utmost invasion of privacy of cellular consumers.’