Illegal gateway exchanges: FIA registered 79 cases against unlawful operators in 2011
FIA says policy being devised to check illegal exchanges
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Authority (FIA) registered 79 cases against people involved in the illegal termination of international traffic using unauthorised Voice over Internet Protocols (VoIP), a district court record revealed.
The gateway exchange is a telephone switch that forms a gateway between a national telephone network and one or more international gateway exchanges, providing cross-border connectivity.
In Pakistan, Internet users are supposed to obtain a licence from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) for running a gateway exchange. But a large number of people operate gateway exchanges illegally.
VoIP is one of the families of Internet technologies, communication protocols, and transmission technologies that facilitates voice communications and multimedia sessions over Internet Protocol (IP) networks.
An FIR was registered against Gahramanova Aliyya, an Uzbek national, for her involvement in the illegal termination of International Voice Traffic using unauthorised VOIP gateway, installed in sector G-11/1. The FIA arrested Aliyya and her accomplices on August 9, 2011.
An FIR was also registered against Jonathan Huang, a Chinese national, for his alleged involvement in running an illegal gateway exchange. Huang has not been arrested till date.
Another FIR was registered against an Egyptian national, Fahadul Wahadi, for the similar offence. The accused was arrested in November 2011.
An FIR was also registered against Muhammad Zakria Khan, who committed the crime in a unique way. Using illegal gateway exchanges, Khan would load Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000 twice a week and entertain international calls at source country(s) by using Internet as a medium.
The calls were transmitted to Pakistan where illegal gateway exchanges containing mobile SIMs/IMSIs were installed. The calls were converted from VoIP to GSM and transmitted to destination telephone numbers. The recipients would assume that the calls were coming from local mobile phone numbers.
Cases were also registered against the remaining accused under sections 31 of PTA 1996, and 6, 7, 8, 9, 19, 20 of Pakistan Electronic Crimes Ordinance (PECO) and ETO, r/w 420 PPC with FIA Cyber Crime Circle.
FIA Cyber Crime Station House Officer Irfan Burni told Daily Times the agency had devised a strategy in collaboration with the PTA to check illegal gateway exchanges. He said the FIA had seized several illegal exchanges in the capital and it would soon implement a new monitoring system against them.
(Published in DailyTimes on 11-01-2012)