1500 SMS words might be banned in Pakistan

19 November 2011 by
The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority suggest that spamming filter should be installed at Telecoms operators to ban 1000 English and over 500 Urdu words. Period, Jesus Christ, Homosexual, Tongue and Deeper are words that will hinder the SMS message to be sent through

Pakistan SMS word ban 

Most countries have some kind of national security agencies responsible for keeping the country free from terrorists, child pornography, criticism of the government and wrong religious thoughts. Pakistan is probably no worse than other countries, but the recent suggestion by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority forces telecoms operators to implement a system which will ban SMS messages having any of the 1500 banned words in it.

The official reason for the implementation of this SMS censorship is that a Pakistan regulation called "Protection from Spam, Unsolicited, Fraudulent and Obnoxious Communication Regulations, 2009". All operators must submit a monthly report to the PTA with the number of blocked text messages. The filtering will be executed through automated machine process without reading or disclosing content of intelligence by a human being.

Some of the banned words are used in medical terms, religious terms and LGBT words. According to Pakistan news paper Tribune some of the banned words are: Athletes foot, breast, condom, premature, herpes, deeper, finger food, hole, harder, devil, jesus christ, gay, homosexual and Wuutang.

sourcePTA Content Filtering Through SMS

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Hobbs9 years, 2 months ago
athletes foot?
finger food?
would love to see the rest of the list.
cause just those two are mind boggling.
Bonovox9 years, 2 months ago
This is rather silly & would not happen here the human rights lawyers would have a field day for invading privacy
masseur9 years, 2 months ago
there's no privacy being invaded here. as the first post says...

The filtering will be executed through automated machine process without reading or disclosing content of intelligence by a human being"

and anyway, its not that much different from the US where recently the House panel approves broadened ISP snooping bill and such provisions are also being discussed in UK whereby ISPs must keep records of all emails and other internet activity for a year.
and this action in Pakistan is a little less radical than that in India that I posted about recently where India cap on text messages to deter tele-marketers
as a side note, the current proposed legislation in US to try to stop piracy is meeting huge resistance due to its wide scope for abuse. I haven't seen a single web personality agree with the proposed action and indeed most are very verbally against it. (Anti-piracy bill meets Web-freedom backlash)
Bonovox9 years, 2 months ago
Some of those words are rather OTT though
etaab9 years, 2 months ago
OTT or not, its still censorship which is wrong.
I have no problem with governments being able to read and even log my messages, since i have nothing to hide and would never send confidential information via a sms, but to stop me saying specific words, thats just wrong.
Wouldnt they be better off allowing such words so they can track terrorism or other criminal activity.. ?
adsada9 years, 2 months ago
From looking at some of the block words, it looks like the government is trying to stop sexting. I think that it's hard to judge from our point of view, living in a different culture but imo it sounds craaaazy, and is a complete violation of human rights imo. Could also be a bad thing for operators with a possible increase in services like bbm or similar apps for other smartphones.
Bonovox9 years, 2 months ago
So if I sent a message to my brother saying there's bomb in London what happens?? They knock on my door?? With the word bomb in my message. Or I went to see Jesus Christ Super Star last night or I say to my girlfriend,tongue & deeper where does it end??
[ This Message was edited by: Bonovox on 2011-11-19 22:49 ]
masseur9 years, 2 months ago
indeed, who are we to comment on a culture quite different from our own? it would be interesting to hear from Pakistani members on this issue.

from the reading I've been doing online, some are questioning some of the words chosen but most are more worried about the implications that the word lists can be expanded for the governments own reasons to prevent/reduce things such as propoganda
Bonovox9 years, 2 months ago
Enough people comment on our culture masseur dictating what we should or shouldn't be doing/saying. By the way what is Wuutang?? EDIT: Be interesting to hear from Ceaser on this on what maybe banned in India
[ This Message was edited by: Bonovox on 2011-11-19 23:02 ]
ceaser20089 years, 2 months ago
In india, yes Indian govt has put cap on outgoing sms to 100. Means you cannot send more than that in one day. And from an Indian prospective, it is welcome cap. Let me explain. Here tele marketers have created a big headach to everyone. If you are not subscriber of National Do Not Disturb (DND) service, you have all those SMSs and call from your provider or other companies like bank, insurance agencies, touring agencies etc. They are sending the SMSs via paid internet sites. In a day, you can easily get around 15-20 sms and 3-4 calls. The answer to them is DND service which will stop all nonsenses. But these company has come up with new idea of having gsm connection and then keep sending sms to all. It will deliver to DND subscribers as well. Just a few days ago, i came across one MLM cum tele marketing campany which will provide new basic phone with new sim connection and will give you list of number whom you will be smsing. They provide you content of sms as well. They would pay you per sms. To control all these again, govt has put cap to 100 sms per day. And it is welcome. For the reason of genuine SMSer, 100 are more than enough. So dear Masseur, it is not radical at all. And i had posted the same at that time in the thread India cap on text messages to deter tele- marketers
[ This Message was edited by: ceaser2008 on 2011-11-20 04:09 ]
tranced9 years, 2 months ago
Wh47 1f 1 5t4rt 53nd1ng 5m5 lik3 th35e? W1ll th3y n0t1c3 1t?
ceaser20089 years, 2 months ago
Absolutely No. Because as per previous post, every sms will be handled by computer not human. Very good idea of bypassing system.
tranced9 years, 2 months ago
L0n9 l1v3 1337
Back on topic, this is a wrong step they've taken. What they are thinking?
ceaser20089 years, 2 months ago
Oh.. What is that?? Long live ....... ??
Back on the topic, i think we cannot judge it as right or wrong until a Pakistani member come and comment on it.
sweeto9 years, 2 months ago
I'm afraid they wont be able to stop such texts. who types full spelling? xD e.g Condom as cndm
Salarzae9 years, 2 months ago
Sexting between friends is not a bad thing but a family member being abused by unknown caller or texter is not acceptable at all and these actions are taken on complaints from the consumers itself. I'll not agree to ban all or most of the words but I believe its a step towards the right direction.
btw, I'm a member from Pakistan but currently living in UAE.
masseur9 years, 2 months ago
Pakistan Authorities Delay Ban On 'Obscene' Words After Widespread Criticism
The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) decided this week to delay a proposed ban on 1,695 English and Urdu words deemed to be obscene, a list of which words was issued last week, among them the name Jesus Christ.

[The PTA] was under immense pressure and now denies any involvement in the selection [of the words]. The blow to religious freedom has now been averted, said Bishop Sebastian Shah of Lahore archdiocese
Bonovox9 years, 2 months ago
Well written!! I had a feeling this might happen on this as people complain about it.
whizkidd9 years, 2 months ago

On 2011-11-19 22:20:41, masseur wrote:
and this action in Pakistan is a little less radical than that in India that I posted about recently where India cap on text messages to deter tele-marketers

Being from India, I have to disagree here. The cap was initially put at 100 SMS' a day and has since then been increased to 200. No person I know sends 200 SMS a day - unless you are a trigger happy teenager. So, most of us here believe the 200 SMS' a day cap is fine to limit pesky callers/spammers. It has been a welcome relief for me at least.
I don't see how this is more radical than censoring words inside an SMS. As for the"culture" thingy, there have been urdu cuss words that too have been banned. Now, I am not saying cussing is a part of Pakistani/India culture but it is common amongst friend and is just friendly. Anyway, this is more of an irritant than biG problem - I guess my Pakistani friends would agree. They would rather cuss each other face to Face - or use IM.

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