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[liberationtech] Looking for Academics, Economists & Business School Lecturers: Pakistan's Firewall: Need your help and support

Sana Saleem sana at
Sun Mar 18 04:26:43 PDT 2012

Hi all,

Thank you for all the help and support during the campaign against internet
censorship in Pakistan. With the government tender now closed, we're
looking to the next stage. This email has two sections:

   1. *Campaign Update*
   2. *Next steps & the ask *

*(Important links at the bottom)*
*1. Campaign update:*
The deadline for bidding on national url filtering and blocking system
passed on friday.  In Pakistan, members of parliament raised the issue
and Ambassador-level diplomats, we got a response form ICT R&D fund --
importantly from the man heading the campaign, Wahaj Us Siraj, CEO of
Nayatel and Head of the ISP association that is providing the funds (see:
til now he has been the only person publicly supporting the Governments
initiative. Internationally, Carl Bildt (Minister foreign affairs- Sweden)
& Neelie Kroes (VP of EU commission) asked questions about the censorship

Our partners business human rights centre (see:
managed to get Websense, Cisco,Verizon and Sandvine to publicly commit not
to apply, collaboration with access now led to over eighteen thousand
people signing a petition (see:
& Mcafee (who, we understand, were one of the two companies originally
interested) committing not to bid. Since the beginning of the campaign and
throughout we have been asking academics, businesses, IT companies
& entrepreneurs to send letters to the IT Ministry and to speak out about
the impact of internet censorship on their respective fields.

The Ministry had planned to purchase filtering technology from an
international company and to develop the system further 'indigenously',
possibly by handing over control to the National University of Science and
Technology (however, it's a cat and mouse chase: our sources identified
NUST, but we have refrained from issuing public letters, as to not
wrongfully assume. We sent private letters.)

*Next steps & the ask:*

With the government now reviewing applications, we still have time to keep
building pressure through a few different methods.  From all of you, we
need your help to get (1) academics to write to the IT Ministry emphasizing
the negative impact this would have on academia.  (2) We're also looking
for people to help us with the 'economic message'; if you or anyone you
know is able to help, please get in touch with me. We have a template
letter that could be send out from student unions, academics or businesses
if required. We also have direct contact details of the relevant government

I am available for call or a skype at your convenience, skype id:
sana-saleem. Feel free to contact me directly.


Useful Links:

Bolo Bhi:  Press Kit
Snoopistan- The News<>
Access Now campaign <>
Welcome to 1984 Dawn <>
GNI statement<>
Newyork Times paper<>
 & blog<>
CNET article<>

On Thu, Mar 8, 2012 at 11:31 PM, Sana Saleem <sana at> wrote:

> Hi all,
> There's been significant media coverage of the impending internet
> censorship plans by Pakistan's Government. The anti-censorship campaign has
> been able to garner support from national and international organizations.
> The positive news is that, we were able to push the government to extend
> the tender closing date, for URL filtering and blocking system, from 1st of
> March to the 16th of March. Our partners in the campaign, Business Human
> Rights Resource Centre, were able to forward our petition and letter to
> company CEO's  and we received commitments form:
> -Websense
> - Cisco
> -Verizon
> -Sandvine
> They have committed not to bid for the URL filtering system. However,
> Mcafee,ZTE , Huawei, Bluecoat has not responded. We are now getting very
> close to the tender closing date and have entered a crucial phase in the
> campaign. We believe at this point it would be most beneficial to keep
> building pressure.
> - Getting businesses with investments in Pakistan to speak up and write to
> the Ministry of IT
> - Getting media to focus on various aspects of the issues, including how
> this could effectively turn online spaces as tools for surveillance, how
> this would hurt the economy, academic paralysis and halt innovation.
> We have put together a Press Kit, it is comprehensive and has basic info
> that most of you might already be aware of, to inform journalists within
> and outside of Pakistan about the situation and it's repercussions. Please
> feel free to share, amongst your contacts:
> Here is a timeline for the campaign so far:
> Thank you and I would really appreciate your suggestions, feedback and
> help,
> Best,
> Sana
> --
> Chief Operating Officer
> Bolo Bhi
> Privacy-Advocacy-Research

Chief Operating Officer
Bolo Bhi
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