Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Pakistani Government Warns ISPs to Block Encrypted Traffic / VPNs

Via Softpedia -

Pakistan's The Express Tribune reports that the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has sent warning notices to ISPs about the continuous use of encrypted virtual private networks.

"In line with [Monitoring & Reconciliation of International Telephone Traffic] Regulations 2010 and national security, Authority prohibited usage of all such mechanisms including encrypted virtual private networks (EVPNs) which conceal communication to the extent that prohibits monitoring. It is observed that the aforementioned directive has not been followed in true letter and spirit as EVPNs are heavily being used on the Licensees Network," reads a letter received by one ISP.

The new telecom law, which was adopted in July, is meant to make it harder for militants to use secure communications and easier for national security agencies to monitor them. Unfortunately, these regulations affect all Internet users in the country and if the government go as far as to block all forms of encryption, including HTTPS, they might have serious effects.

"The problem is that banning every sort of 'communications concealing' technology online would destroy the very fabric of the internet's law-abiding use. There would be no SSH, no SSL, no TLS, no HTTPS. There would be no Wi-Fi security. Online commerce would implode," writes Sophos security expert Paul Ducklin.

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