Monday, 21 November 2011

Exclusive: Original Source of SMS Ban Lists Revealed: ProPakistani

Exclusive: Original Source of SMS Ban Lists Revealed: ProPakistani

Link to Pro Pakistani

Exclusive: Original Source of SMS Ban Lists Revealed

Posted: 21 Nov 2011 09:21 AM PST

am i depressed thumb Exclusive: Original Source of SMS Ban Lists RevealedThe whole world has ridiculed the list of over 1,500 banned keywords that was allegedly prepared by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, to be filtered by mobile phone companies for SMS communication before it got leaked last week.

PTA hasn't denied the list so far, so we are assuming that the list was indeed issued by the authority for SMS filtration.

ProPakistani has now got hands over the original source of English and Urdu lists, which were apparently copied as they were to produce this list of banned keywords to be sent out to operators for the filtration.

Before we go into details here are lists of banned keywords issued by PTA:

Grabbing the original list wasn't hard. The way I predicted earlier in the morning, someone at PTA indeed used Google to get lists of dirty words for English and Urdu Language.

For English he/she found this websites with plenty of words, copied it as a whole and dispatched it to the operators.

Here is the URL:

Interesting point to mention here is that this list (labeled as "NFL’s 1,159 Naughty Words") was originally prepared in 2005 and words/phrases in it were actually disallowed to be used for personalized jerseys sold by NFL Shop (National Football League shop).

Just in case if you don't know, people can get customized words and phrases on jerseys/shirts of their favorite teams/clubs/leagues.

So now we better know on how and why "Creamy pie", "Monkey Crotch" and other daily life words, which are not obscene at all, got included in the list of banned SMS keywords.

Urdu list was prepared in pretty similar manner, and here are original sources:

From what it appears, dirty words from Guajarati were also included in the list, for instance a word "Sandas" (a term from Urdu list) is from Guajarati language, which of course doesn’t mean much for Pakistanis.

If you look closely at the list of Urdu keywords, it has a term "Phrase" (keywords number 55 in PTA’s list), which I suppose was included in the list by mistake while copying the table from above mentioned URLs. From this one can conclude that the person responsible for preparing the list was in hurry as well, and hadn't enough time to proof read the list.

Clearly, the whole process was completed without any consultation or home work. This is something we don't expect from an institute like PTA. Hopefully they will take all the necessary measures to make sure that such a blunder isn't repeated again.

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Copyright © 2010 ProPakistani.PK

To read more, click: Exclusive: Original Source of SMS Ban Lists Revealed

SMS Filtering: Problem is List of Keywords, not the Filtration Itself

Posted: 20 Nov 2011 11:42 PM PST

Read this post in Urdu

I am told that high-ups at PTA are under immense pressure after the list of 1,500 keywords was leaked out to media last week, which was supposed to hit cellular companies only for filtering SMS communication.

A very tiny thing (considering this was not the first list for SMS filtration issued by PTA), it was of course done with not much home work. But the matter has now gone out of PTA's control. The media world over has been bashing the decision and the core attention of all the negative reporting has been the list of keywords, which has common words from daily life in it.

Just to let you guys know, cellular companies are pretty cool with filtering anything, there's no additional infrastructure or software required to filter these 1,500 keywords, or more if they come. In fact there are many filters already in place to block SPAM and fraudulent text messages, such as those keywords used for trapping cell phone users to get their mobile balance and so on.

So monetarily or technically there is no problem. But the problem, the main problem, is the list of keywords that someone (apparently single handedly) at PTA prepared without considering the impact and implication. He/she maybe downloaded a list of bad words from internet to put them into an Excel sheet to throw it to operators without consulting with anyone else.

We can confirm that the list was not consulted with cellular operators, before it was leaked out to media.

P.S. Don’t get me wrong here, I am by no means supporting SMS censorship, in fact we did this piece couple of days ago to explain that this SMS filtering thing wasn’t required at all when we have methods available to block unwanted SMS/calls. What I want to explain is that implementation of the this list of keyword doesn’t make any logic at all, just assuming that we must filter SMS. In other words, it’s technically viable for cellular companies to filter traffic, but the type of keywords that PTA has asked to blocked doesn’t make sense at all.

Operators tell me that with this list, if implemented, 15-17 percent or more of text message communication will get caught by filters and won't be delivered to the end users, which is way higher than the rate of abuse messages that PTA actually wanted to intercept.

Operators are reportedly in talks with PTA to revise the list, however, there's no deadline I can mention you now for the conclusive outcome.

No, the list you have seen isn't implemented so far and no operator is likely to implement it in next few days as well.

What Next?

The magnitude of coverage the whole issue has got so far, it is predicted that PTA will go into hibernation mode for some time, maybe a month or so. Eventually authority will revise the list to issue a new list of banned keywords – wishing that new list won't get leaked again.

I am sure mobile phone users will complain even the common used words are taken out of the list, but that's something we can't discuss now.

Let's wait and watch for next move from PTA on this. We will keep you posted with any update when it happens.

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Copyright © 2010 ProPakistani.PK

To read more, click: SMS Filtering: Problem is List of Keywords, not the Filtration Itself

Ufone Conducts Awareness Seminar on Breast Cancer

Posted: 20 Nov 2011 09:59 PM PST

Ufone recently arranged a seminar for its female employees highlighting the alarming increase in the rate of breast cancer patients in Pakistan. The seminar was conducted in collaboration with Pink Ribbon Pakistan and underlined the importance to significantly reduce breast cancer mortality in the country by creating widespread awareness on early detection and increased access to treatment.

Pink Ribbon Campaign Pakistan is a project of Women Empowerment Group (WEG). The Campaign aims at imparting awareness about the high danger of breast cancer in Pakistani women. Pakistan has the highest rate of Breast Cancer amongst all Asian countries and the numbers are alarming as every 9th woman in Pakistan is at high risk of getting Breast Cancer at some point in her life, leading to over 40,000 deaths every year.

Ufone, being a socially responsible organization continues to be at the forefront of many health initiatives. Since inception Ufone has taken serious interest in in-house and external CSR projects and over the last few years, has carried out various initiatives related to health care and environmental sustainability. These initiatives have benefited the populace as well as the employees of Ufone simultaneously.

The attendants appreciated the awareness seminar and  volunteered to become ambassadors for Pink Ribbon and impart knowledge on the risks attached with breast cancer amongst their families and general public.

On the occasion Moazzam Ali Khan, Head of PR and CSR at Ufone said, "various issues in our society face major challenges of misconceptions and social stigmas. There is a severe lack of medical facilities and awareness and there is a huge resistance in making people realize the prevalent dangers of breast cancer that can prove fatal for women. It is every organizations duty to fill in this awareness gap and ensure that its employees are provided the relevant information on prevention and treatment options. In the months to come we will be arranging similar seminars in Ufone offices nationwide."

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Copyright © 2010 ProPakistani.PK

To read more, click: Ufone Conducts Awareness Seminar on Breast Cancer

Branchless Banking Transactions Hit Rs. 59 Billion Mark in One Quarter

Posted: 20 Nov 2011 07:48 PM PST

Read this post in Urdu

After slow adaption rate earlier, mainly due to lack of awareness, the branchless banking in Pakistan has lately showcased over 50 per quarter over quarter growth rate in total number of BB account holders in the country, said stats issued by State Bank of Pakistan.

State Bank said that number of branchless bank account holders (for all branchless banks) reached 357,598 in September 2011, i.e. 51% higher than of 236,464 branchless bank account holders in June 2011.

It said that 17,448 BB agents, through the country, carried out 15,867,672 transactions in just one quarter ending September 31st, 2011.

These transactions from July to September 2011 averaged at Rs. 3,700 per transfer with total of 176,296 transactions on average per day while value of transactions through branchless banking totaled PKR 58.711 billion in just three months..

Check below table for complete branchless banking stats for two quarters.

Branchless Banking Growth thumb Branchless Banking Transactions Hit Rs. 59 Billion Mark in One Quarter

SBP, through a Survey, found out that almost half of branchless banking users did not have a bank account and almost two-thirds used the service regularly. These results hint at the considerable unmet demand for efficient, low cost and accessible financial services.

Branchless Banking Stats thumb Branchless Banking Transactions Hit Rs. 59 Billion Mark in One Quarter

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Copyright © 2010 ProPakistani.PK

To read more, click: Branchless Banking Transactions Hit Rs. 59 Billion Mark in One Quarter

European Telecom Vendors Facing Tough time in Pakistan

Posted: 20 Nov 2011 07:45 PM PST

With no signs of 3G to happen anytime soon, European Telecom vendors, following the global trend, are going through the toughest possible time in Pakistan, tell us sources from industry.

It won't be out of place to mention that a telecom vendor is the entity responsible for manufacturing and deploying the infrastructure behind a telecom operator (Examples: Huawei, Ericsson). The telecom operator is responsible for day-to-day operations of its network and sales and marketing of its services (Examples: Mobilink, Telenor).

The decreasing ARPUs in Pakistani telecom market as well as the recent global progress of Chinese vendors (Huawei and ZTE) have seriously affected the European telecom Vendors (Ericsson, NSN and Alcatel-Lucent) in Pakistan. This has resulted in gradual shift of business from them to the Chinese vendors, as obvious from recent telecom contracts in the country.

Although this is a global trend (also happening in Europe, Africa and Asia), but in Pakistan, the European vendors are feeling it more severely.

Analysts opine that this is mainly because Pakistan telecom market is amongst the lowest ARPU markets in the world as well as the Chinese enjoy a more friendly relationship status with Pakistani Government and several other institutions and departments.

All this, they say, is coupled with the unfortunate fact that Pakistani business culture is more supportive of the Chinese business practices as compared with the European business norms.

Ericsson, for example is globally number 1 telecom vendor but in Pakistan, its presence is limited to Warid and Zong and in recent years it's facing a very tough time in maintaining this market share and hasn't been able to gain any major contracts recently.

Same is the case with NSN (Nokia Siemens Network), which has been left with only one contract in hand, i.e. with Telenor Pakistan. Industry sources tell us that at this point of time a bidding process is underway by Telenor Pakistan, which will end in December and might result in loss of complete Telenor Pakistan business by NSN.

So just in case, if NSN fails to get this contract, they won't have any other solid business in Pakistan or a reason to operate in the country.

Witnessing recent examples of NSN operations shut down in Afghanistan, Syria and Jordan, one can predict a sorry future for NSN in Pakistan too. This has resulted in downsizing as well as departure of some key figures from NSN (e.g., their sub-region Head Mr. Veqar ul Islam resigned earlier this year).

Alcatel-Lucent's business is also on the decline in Pakistan (following the global trend).

Impact on Industry

This situation has resulted in to a scenario, where the void left by the closure of 2 North American vendors (Nortel and Motorola) in recent years, is being filled by the Chinese Vendors i.e., the operators have been opting for Chinese vendors to swap the installed legacy infrastructure of Nortel and Motorola.

Although the cellular operators contest that it's necessary for them to opt for lower cost solutions in order to keep their businesses profitable (considering the ever decreasing ARPUs in Pakistan).

Industry sources, during private interviews, told us that the this trend has a negative effect on Pakistan's HR resources in two ways, one is the downsizing and minimal hiring by European Vendors and 2nd is the unfair and unprofessional HR practices by Chinese vendors (there have been a few cases reported by us previously regarding this), as well as this is evident from the highest churn rate of Chinese employer's workforce, as the people working in these companies are not satisfied with their pays, benefits, working environment and career growth.

In an ideal situation, there can be regulation in Pakistan, which can ensure fair chances of business for all the vendors, which will result in healthy competition and would subsequently benefit and further flourish the HR resource and telecom industry in Pakistan, but sadly our industry regulator PTA as well as other entities e.g., Ministry of IT and Ministry of Labor etc have never bothered to consider or review the telecom industry proceedings.

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Copyright © 2010 ProPakistani.PK

To read more, click: European Telecom Vendors Facing Tough time in Pakistan

Wateen Offers Free Connection for Warid Post-paid Customers

Posted: 20 Nov 2011 07:43 PM PST

Read this post in Urdu

warid banner thumb Wateen Offers Free Connection for Warid Post paid Customers

Like we told you earlier at it's re-launch, Wateen had this plan of involving Warid to boost it's sales. As an outcome, company is now offering free connection, i.e. all upfront charges waived off, for all Warid postpaid customers.

All you need to do is to get your copy of Warid postpaid number to any of Warid's service center or franchise to claim your connection.

Just to mention, monthly rental will be applicable, based on your Wateen package – obviously its free for lifetime.

If you are wondering about what packages Wateen does offer, then here's a link you need to visit for complete details about packages.

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Copyright © 2010 ProPakistani.PK

To read more, click: Wateen Offers Free Connection for Warid Post-paid Customers

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