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September 06, 2015 - Comments Off on It’s time to end the culture of online misogyny!

It’s time to end the culture of online misogyny!

The Last Word bookshop and Digital Rights Foundation recently collaborated on a discussion session held at the Last Word in Lahore, Pakistan, to help develop an understanding – and increase awareness of – the dangers of unchecked online harassment. The session, “A Call To Action: Online Misogyny in Pakistan, and How to Combat it”, was announced in response to a disturbing rise in online misogyny and gender-based cyber-harassment. According to Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency, 3,027 cases of cybercrime were reported in the the period between August 2014 and August 2015, with 45% of the cases being related to cyber-harassment on social media against women.

Aysha Raja, owner of the Last Word, compering the event. On her right are Nabiha Meher Shaikh and Susan Benesch

Aysha Raja, owner of the Last Word, compering the event. On her right are (l-r) Nabiha Meher Shaikh and Susan Benesch

The recent misogyny and hyper-jingoism on display last week (http://www.dawn.com/news/1203410) highlighted how important it is to tackle misogyny, and to examine the behaviours that give rise to it. The alarming frequency with which online harassment (which often bleeds out into real world “offline” harassment, or worse) has led to much needed public discourse – not just on recognising that the danger is real, but also to come up with proactive solutions to counter such behaviour. There are signs of understanding – the DRF/Last Word session, for example, saw a good turnout, with many men not only in attendance, but also contributing to the discussion in a mostly positive manner.

Jahanzaib Haque of Dawn.com raises a point.

Jahanzaib Haque of Dawn.com raises a point.

The audience at the event

The audience at the event

The speakers at the event, included:

Susan Benesch of The Berkman Center for Internet and Society, at Harvard University, and founder of the Dangerous Speech Project, “to find ways of diminishing inflammatory speech – and its capacity to inspire violence - while protecting freedom of expression.”

http://www.voicesthatpoison.org/

https://twitter.com/dangerousspeech

Nabiha Meher Sheikh, Co-founder of Pakistan Feminist Watch, and an instructor in Critical Thinking

https://twitter.com/pakfemwatch

http://pakistanfeministwatch.blogspot.com/

Jahanzaib Haque, Chief Digital Strategist and Editor at Dawn.com

https://twitter.com/jhaque_

https://www.dawn.com

Nighat Dad, Executive Director of Digital Rights Foundation

https://twitter.com/nighatdad

http://digitalrightsfoundation.pk/

Links

We have collected the live-tweets of the session in Storify, for those unable to attend. The link can be found here.

http://www.dawn.com/news/1205235 Dawn's coverage of the session.

November 11, 2014 - Comments Off on “The State of Proactive Disclosure of Information in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab Public Bodies” Research Report Released

“The State of Proactive Disclosure of Information in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab Public Bodies” Research Report Released

Lahore, November 11, 2014:

The second quarterly of research report ‘The State of Proactive Disclosure of Information in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab Public Bodies’ reaffirms our earlier finding that public bodies in both provinces are not complying with their respective right to information laws. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab public bodies are required to proactively disclose categories of information mentioned in Sections 5 and 4 of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Right to Information Act 2013 and Punjab Transparency and Right to Information Act 2013.

The broader aim of this research report, conducted by Digital Rights Foundation, a member organization of Coalition on Right to Information’, (CRTI) is to measure how public bodies have been using the web and making it easier for citizens in the processes of getting information and filing requests. Major aim of this effort is also to promote public bodies who are proactively sharing information with citizens on self-basis.

The current report indicates a serious lack of maintenance of websites by departments. In the process of doing research for the current report, many websites were found in the same state as they were during the previous quarter, in terms of both their conformation with RTI laws and updating their websites with regular news and information. Which shows that while the public bodies have adopted to the latest web standards and have created and somewhat maintained a web presence, there is a significant lack of tangible reforms adopted to implement key sections of the respective laws of the provinces. Specifically, the public bodies do not share information pertaining to public employees’ remuneration, benefits, and any other privileges in line with the provisions of their provincial right to information laws.

The coalition and DRF has decided to add the websites of information commissions of both the provinces in the next phase of this research report. Commissions are expected to be a role model for other governmental bodies when it comes to have a maintained websites sharing information proactively with citizens on self-basis along with outlining proper procedures with named contacts for citizens to ask queries.

Digital Rights Foundation urges Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Commission and Punjab Information Commission to ensure public bodies comply with the right to information laws and make available information specified for proactive disclosure under relevant provisions of provincial right to information laws. The websites of these aforementioned commissions will be included in the next quarterly report.

Link to the report: Proactive Disclosure Report

Contact: nighat@digitalrightsfoundation.pk

– End –

 

“Coalition of Right to Information seeks to promote an open information and communications policies at the federal, provincial and district levels across Pakistan. With various initiatives, the coalition of civil society organizations aims to promote citizen awareness and improve dialogue between the citizens and state.”

 

Digital Rights Foundation is a research based advocacy organisation based in Pakistan focusing on ICTs to support human rights, democratic processes and better digital governance. DRF opposes any and all sorts of online censorship and violations of human rights both on ground and online. We firmly believe that freedom of speech and open access to online content is critically important for the development of socio-economy of the country. www.digitalrightsfoundation.pk

June 30, 2014 - Comments Off on Release of "The State of Proactive Disclosure of Information in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab Public Bodies" Research Report

Release of "The State of Proactive Disclosure of Information in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab Public Bodies" Research Report

Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa public bodies do not comply with provincial Right to Information Laws

Lahore, June 30, 2014:

The research report ‘The State of Proactive Disclosure of Information in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab Public Bodies’ shows that public bodies in both provinces are not complying with the respective right to information laws of their provinces. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab public bodies are required to proactively disclose categories of information mentioned in Sections 5 and 4 of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Right to Information Act 2013 and Punjab Transparency and Right to Information Act 2013.

The broader aim of this research report, conducted by Digital Rights Foundation, a member organization of Coalition on Right to Information’, (CRTI) is to measure how public bodies have been using the web and making it easier for citizens in the processes of getting information and filing requests.

The report indicates that while the public bodies have adopted to the latest web standards and have created / maintained a web presence, there is a significant lack of tangible reforms adopted to implement key sections of the respective laws of the provinces. Specifically, the public bodies do not share information pertaining to public employees' remuneration, benefits, and any other privileges in line with the provisions of their provincial right to information laws.

Digital Rights Foundation urges Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Commission and Punjab Information Commission to ensure public bodies comply with the right to information laws and make available information specified for proactive disclosure under relevant provisions of provincial right to information laws.

Link to the report: Proactive Disclosure report

Contact: nighat@digitalrightsfoundation.pk

- End -

 

"Coalition of Right to Information seeks to promote an open information and communications policies at the federal, provincial and district levels across Pakistan. With various initiatives, the coalition of civil society organizations aims to promote citizen awareness and improve dialogue between the citizens and state."

Digital Rights Foundation is a research based advocacy organisation based in Pakistan focusing on ICTs to support human rights, democratic processes and better digital governance. DRF opposes any and all sorts of online censorship and violations of human rights both on ground and online.  We firmly believe that freedom of speech and open access to online content is critically important for the development of socio-economy of the country. www.digitalrightsfoundation.pk

Join the talk on Twitter @digitalrightspk  and like us on Facebook!

February 05, 2014 - Comments Off on Jasoosi Band Karo – "Stop Spying On Us"

Jasoosi Band Karo – "Stop Spying On Us"

Under the flagship of international "The Day We Fight Back" 2014 campaign, Digital Rights Foundation started a similar campaign in Pakistan to fight against mass surveillance and censorship.
jasoosi band karo
Titled "Jasoosi Band Karo" in Urdu (Pakistan's national language), the campaign asked the common Pakistani Internet user to come forward and speak against the draconian State tactics of mass surveillance and targeted censorship.
The campaign is an ongoing effort by Digital Rights Foundation, Pakistan along with various other civil society organizations and tech companies of Pakistan. International partner Electronic Frontier Foundation have endorsed this effort by DRF against the mass surveillance tools and systems employed by the Government of Pakistan.
"Jasoosi Band Karo" asks a common citizen to stand up for the basic human right of free and open society and fight against these draconian measures of mass surveillance and censorship.
Campaign site link: jasoosibandkaro

January 02, 2014 - Comments Off on Training Workshop: Security for Women in Digital Age

Training Workshop: Security for Women in Digital Age

Security for Women in Digital Age

Venue: Crystal Ball, Marriott hotel, Islamabad

Date: 13:30 - 17:00, January 9, 2014

Trainer: Nighat Dad (Executive Director, Digital Rights Foundation Pakistan)

In this digital age, it has become even easier than before to be stalked, intruded and harassed. During these times of fast digital innovation, it is important for women to assess their risks online, analyse them and browse securely.

"Security for Women in the Digital Age" workshop will focus on why it is important for women to be cautious about their privacy online. The session will look on the cases in Pakistan where women and girls have been harassed and threatened online. It will then move on to a small digital security training empowering the attendees with basic tools to stay secure in the digital spaces.

For more details, please join our Facebook event page or visit the website.

- With support from Tactical Technology Collective

January 02, 2014 - Comments Off on "Unseen War" – Screening of a Short Film on Drones by Tactical Tech

"Unseen War" – Screening of a Short Film on Drones by Tactical Tech

“Unseen War” Tactical Tech’s film Screening on 11th January, 2014

Venue: Crystal Ball B, Marriott hotel, Islamabad

Date: 15:00 - 17:00 11th January, 2014

Digital Rights Foundation is pleased to invite you to a special screening of “Unseen War” on 11th January, 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm at the Crystal Ball B, Marriott Hotel at Cyber Secure Pakistan 2014.

“Unseen War” is one of the films from the series of Tactical Tech’s project of short films “Exposing the Invisible”. This short film changes the angle slightly and explores the physical, moral and political invisibility of US drone strikes in Pakistan.

Team of Exposing the Invisible speaks to journalists, activists and experts inside and outside of Pakistan about the consequences of the strikes in the tribal FATA region, why they are possible, and how we can make the issue more visible using data and visualization tactics.

The screening of the film will be followed by a panel discussion on the cases shown in the film; how activism is transforming in Pakistan, and how it effects us.

 

Moderator: Usama Khilji

Panelists:

  • Marek Tuszynski - Tactical Technology Collective (Skype)
  • Abdullah Saad – Technology expert
  • Ammar Jafferi – Chairman PISA
  • Taha Siddqui – Freelance journalist
  • Shahzad Akbar – Reprieve UK

 

DRF and PISA look forward to your participation in making this screening a success!

For more, join our Facebook event page or visit the website.

November 13, 2013 - Comments Off on Summary of Cyber Security Awareness Seminar, Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS)

Summary of Cyber Security Awareness Seminar, Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS)

The second Cyber Security Awareness Seminar was held at LUMS in collaboration with the Cyber Security Task Force and the Pakistan Information Security Association (PISA) on November 5th, 2013. The primary goal of this seminar was to highlight the increasing threats of Cyber Crimes and Cyber Terrorism.

The seminar saw the participation of LUMS students and faculty members; civil judges and research fellows at the Lahore High Court; the Additional Advocate General; various members of the business community and civil society representatives including Digital Rights Foundation, Pakistan.

The session was inaugurated with an introduction by Mr Ammar Jaffri, the Chairman Cyber Security Task Force. He went on to describe the audience about the threat perception in cyber space and mentioned about the counter measures taken up by the Cyber Security Task Force.

Following Mr. Jaffri was Barrister Zahid Jameel, Head of the Legal Committee for Drafting the Cyber Security Bill 2013. He discussed legal issues and challenges faced with regards to cyber security and the impediments faced by him and his committee while introducing the Cyber Security Bill 2013.

Dr Ashraf Masood, Dean NUST MCS, briefly explained about the cyber security policy adopted in Pakistan. He was then followed up by Mr. Shahid Hassan, Deputy Director of the FIA, who narrated his experience of the special cyber security training he had received in India.

The session was continued by Mr. Tariq Sheikh, Manager Customer Support and Training at LUMS, who brought forth the challenges and issues faced at LUMS in terms of cyber security. Seminar was concluded by a session from Mr. Tahir Chaudhry, Head Cyber Security Awareness Campaign who brought forth cyber issues faced by students and the general public. He provided some valuable tips on how to secure personal information online.

Finally, a summation followed all these presentations with closing remarks given by Professor Abid Hussain Imam, Assistant Professor at Shaikh Ahmad Hassan School of Law, who then opened the Q & A session.

Session summary by Muhammad Farooq - volunteer, Digital Rights Foundation

October 03, 2013 - Comments Off on Freedom on the Net 2013 Findings: Pakistan’s Internet Freedom Status NOT FREE

Freedom on the Net 2013 Findings: Pakistan’s Internet Freedom Status NOT FREE

Freedom on the Net 2013 - Growing Concerns Over Pakistan's Internet Freedom Status

Lahore, October 3, 2013: With the launch of a new study by Freedom House to assess Freedom on the Net in 60 countries around the world, a growing surge of employing surveillance technologies and restricting  free access by the governments globally can be observed. Freedom on the Net 2013 report on Pakistan confirms the doubts that even with the change of government - after a successful democratic process - rhetoric of tightening Internet surveillance remains the same. YouTube, for example, still remains blocked in the country.

Digital Rights Foundation, Pakistan along with research analysts of Freedom House worked concertedly over past many months to research, compile and assess the limits on content, violations of user rights in Pakistan, and overall Internet freedom in the country. We learnt that government has been keen in bringing in some newer technologies to restrict online content and also have better surveillance powers. Presence of FinFisher's Spy tools in Pakistan on state-owned Pakistan Telecommunication Ltd (PTCL) network was strongly condemned by civil society of the country. Government's plan to systematize website blocking was also one of the most concerning developments of 2012 and 2013.

It was also found that violations of user rights have been on an uptick in the past year in Pakistan with the cases like the shooting at the 15yr old blogger and activist Malala Yousufzai. An increased number of blasphemy cases were also registered, sometimes just to settle business rivalries.

"Pakistan remains one of the worst countries when it comes to online freedom of speech, user rights and citizens' privacy", commented Digital Rights Foundation Executive Director, Nighat Dad.  "In the past year, state has been rigorously trying to implement the best of surveillance set-ups to create a kind of watchdog upon activists, journalists and a common citizen on the name of war against terrorism. Pakistan' civil society, despite being faced with threats and vicious consequences, is strongly fighting against the state-employed policies and technologies that can hurt Pakistani citizen".

The upper house of parliament, in February 2013, granted security agencies permission to monitor private e-mails and mobile phone communications in order to collect evidence of terrorist activity, threatening Pakistani citizen's privacy. In the areas like Baluchistan, activists are even more at threat with plethora of intelligence agencies and Pakistani army trying to cut their voices. Freedom on the Net 2013 report found that intelligence agencies have been pressuring federal government for greater surveillance control and location tracking system. While this all has been moved forward to fight against terrorists, it is evident that these technologies are used to threat media personnel, attack activists and other such factitious activities affecting a common citizen.

To view full country report of Pakistan, please visit Freedom on the Net, 2013.

- End -

Digital Rights Foundation is a research based advocacy organisation based in Pakistan focusing on ICTs to support human rights, democratic processes and better digital governance. DRF opposes any and all sorts of online censorship and violations of human rights both on ground and online.  We firmly believe that freedom of speech and open access to online content is critically important for the development of socio-economy of the country. www.digitalrightsfoundation.pk

Join the talk on Twitter @digitalrightspk, follow the hashtag #FOTN13 or like us on Facebook!