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Pakistan

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Anna Crowe's picture

The government of Pakistan is proposing a new law that significantly threatens privacy rights, in a blatant attempt to establish a legal regime containing broad powers when it comes to obtaining, retaining, and sharing data obtained through criminal investigations, including communications data.

The Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2014, contains worrying aspects that threaten the right to privacy, including a provision that would permit unregulated information sharing with foreign governments. Pakistani rights groups are echoing Privacy International’s concerns and demanding that the draft law be rewritten. Pakistan has a poor human rights record and passing the law in its current form would represent a further step backwards in the protection of fundamental rights, such as the right to privacy.

In the media
Publisher: 
The News on Sunday
Publication date: 
13-Apr-2014
Author(s): 
Shahzada Irfan Ahmed
Original story link: 

Privacy International, a registered UK charity founded in 1990 which was the first to campaign at an international level on privacy issues, identifies certain loopholes in Pakistan’s draft law on cyber crime.

In a statement shared with TNS, it states: “In particular, we reiterate that the lack of procedural safeguards against surveillance activities carried out by intelligence agencies poses a serious threat to human rights, especially the right to privacy. We also emphasise the importance of establishing a competent independent oversight mechanism that has the ability to access all potentially relevant information about state actions.”

Countries: 
In the media
Publisher: 
GigaOm
Publication date: 
09-Jan-2014
Author(s): 
David Meyer
Original story link: 

Privacy International Legal Office Caroline Wilson Palow offered this by way of comment:  “It is clear that mass surveillance programs like Tempora have a disproportionate impact on those who live outside the country, since foreigners’ phone calls, emails, or internet searches currently receive even fewer legal protections than the communications of those who reside in the UK. It is wrong and we argue illegal for the UK to discriminate without any reasonable basis between UK and non-UK nationals when spying on their communications.

In the media
Publisher: 
Wired UK
Publication date: 
09-Jan-2014
Author(s): 
Liat Clark
Original story link: 

"Every country owes the same obligation to each individual whose communications pass through their territory: not to interfere with those communications, subject to permissible limitations established by law," Privacy International commented in a separate statement. "People who have had their communications intercepted, no matter their location or nationality, should be able to object to that interference in the courts and tribunals of the country that carried out the interception."

Blog
Caroline Wilson Palow's picture

Privacy International's partner organisation, Bytes for All, has filed a complaint against the Government, decrying the human rights violations inherent in such extensive surveillance and demonstrating how the UK's mass surveillance operations and its policies have a disproportionate impact on those who live outside the country.

Bytes for All, a Pakistan-based human rights organization, filed its complaint in the UK Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), the same venue in which Privacy International lodged a similar complaint last July.

Blog
Carly Nyst's picture

As if those in Pakistan did not have enough to worry about when it came to the security of their communications, recent changes to Pakistan’s anti-terror law could see people convicted for terrorism solely on the basis of incriminating text messages, phone calls, or email.

As part of a drive to increase the number of convictions of terror suspects, the government of Pakistan has recently beefed up its anti-terror laws through a presidential ordinance that will permit prolonged detention of terror suspects and the expanded use of email and phone evidence in certain criminal trials. It is just another indication of Pakistan’s drift toward authoritarianism and the government’s total disregard for the human rights of their citizens.

Press release

Below is a joint statement from Privacy International and Bytes for All.

This Friday, 27 September, marks the conclusion of the 24th session of the UN Human Rights Council, a session which has, for the first time, seen issues of internet surveillance in the spotlight. Privacy International and Bytes for All welcome the attention given at the Human Rights Council to this issue. However, we are concerned about developments which took place that threaten privacy rights and freedom of expression, especially because these alarming suggestions are masked as solutions to address the increase in State surveillance.

In the media
Publisher: 
The Express Tribune
Publication date: 
20-Sep-2013
Original story link: 

With this in mind, a collection of civil society organisations, including Bolo Bhi, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Access, Article 19, Privacy International, Association for Progressive Communications, Human Rights Watch and Reporters Without Borders, presented the 13 Principles in a Human Rights Council side event today. The meeting was organized by the UN member States of Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Hungary.

Countries: 
Blog
Carly Nyst's picture

Privacy International will soon be launching a research and advocacy project entitled Aiding Surveillance that will focus on the role of international development, humanitarian and funding organisations in promoting privacy and data protection. Click here to join our mailing list to find out more about this project and all of PI's activities.

The development agenda is heralding a new cure-all for humanitarian and development challenges – data.

Blog
Matthew Rice's picture

The government of Pakistan has repeatedly shown it is relentless when it comes to deploying measures to censor and spy on its own citizens. Today, a report released by Citizen Lab reveals another repressive tool being used to control and prevent information being accessed on the internet -- this time with help from the Canadian web-filtering company, Netsweeper.

According to the report "O Pakistan, We Stand on Guard for Thee: An Analysis of Canada-based Netsweeper’s Role in Pakistan’s Censorship Regime", internet filtering software provided by Netsweeper has been installed on the Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL)'s network, the country's largest telecommunications company that also operates the Pakistan Internet Exchange Point. Citizen Lab's report shows that the technology has been used for the purposes of social and political filtering, including websites of secessionist movements, sensitive religious topics, and independent media. 

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