The WhatsApp alternative to public servants in Pakistan is under consideration for the introduction of a new app after which government employees will not be allowed to share contacts or sensitive information through the WhatsApp.
Shabahat Ali Shah, chief executive officer of Pakistan's National Information Technology Board confirmed that the proposal is under consideration and a decision will be taken soon, while some companies will be involved. Talks are also underway. He said the new app will be completed in two to three months.
Earlier, at a meeting of the National Assembly's Standing Committee on Information Technology, IT board officials said steps were being taken to prevent fake news on social media and a regular system for verifying viral news in Pakistan. Work is being done on the format.
Authorities said a proposal has been made to the government to confirm the news on social networking websites.
IT board officials said that a WhatsApp-style service would be introduced at the offices for government employees, which will be controlled by the Government of Pakistan.
IT officials also said that government employees will not be able to share the court documents on their personal WhatsApp while alternative voice messages, videos, and documents can be sent in the same way as WhatsApp.
Shabahat Ali Shah added that there is a serious concern among IT-related organizations and the government that other social networking apps, including the WhatsApp, make it unsafe for important and sensitive government documents to be shared between personnel.
'We are not banning anyone's phone use, but we will first explain to all government officials how insecure the data is on these apps. Ninety percent of our officers and personnel are unaware of this important issue. '
It is to be noted that the debate has been going on in Pakistan for the past year that the government is working on censoring traditional and social media. However, Shabbat Ali says the proposal will have a positive response soon.