Archives for May 2019

May 27, 2019 - Comments Off on April 2019: DRF releases Annual Report 2018

April 2019: DRF releases Annual Report 2018


DRF is extremely proud to announce the launch of its annual report for the year 2018 in which we've captured the work we've done throughout the year, with our partners and beneficiaries. The report highlights our achievements throughout the year 2018 and what we plan to achieve in the years to come. The report also gives us a comprehensive overview of our beneficiaries and the themes we cover with them through our work.

Click here to read the full report.

Release of "Fostering Open Spaces in Pakistan - combating gender specific threats to women's activism online" Report


In collaboration with International Media Support, DRF undertook a project entitled ‘Fostering Open Spaces in Pakistan- Combating Gender Specific Threats to Women's Activism Online’ which focused on women journalists and information practitioners’s experience of existing in the online sphere and a study was put together highlighting the chasm between the permeation of online spaces by men and by women.

This Report was disseminated at the digital security workshops conducted by DRF in Lahore, Karachi, Quetta, Peshawar and Islamabad and will be further distributed amongst the necessary stakeholders. Click here to read the report.

Hamara Internet Session in Fatima Jinnah Women University, Rawalpindi


DRF conducted a seminar on "Our Right to Safe Online and Offline Spaces" at Fatima Jinnah Women University, Rawalpindi on April 24th, 2019 where discussed the vulnerabilities of young men and women were face in online spaces and focusing on the current legislation regarding offline and online harassment to have a much needed debate around safe spaces on campus.

DRF held Digital Safety Trainings across Pakistan

Training held in Karachi



Training held in Islamabad



Training held in Peshawar

Under the head of Fostering Open Spaces in Pakistan project, a series of customised digital safety trainings were conducted in Karachi, Quetta, Peshawar and Islamabad for women journalists, online civic activists and human rights defenders to cater to their concerns which were heard out via a series of seminars that were previously conducted in the same vein.

The trainings were aimed at improving the participants understanding of online threats and risks and equipping them with tools to keep themselves secure and vigilant against such possibilities which could corrupt their data or gadgets.

DRF at Capacity Building Workshop of Policy Makers and Duty Bearers by NCHR and UNESCO

DRF attended a capacity building workshop of Policy Makers and Duty Bearers on 19th April, on Sustainable Goal Target 16.10.1 by NCHR and UNESCO. The consultation focused on freedom of expression and safety of journalists.

Hamara Internet in Beaconhouse National University, Lahore


Digital Rights Foundation conducted the seminar "Our Right to Sage Online and Offline Spaces" at Beaconhouse National University (BNU) on Monday, April 29th, 2019 where we discussed the vulnerabilities young men and women face in online spaces and focusing on the current legislation regarding offline and online harassment to have a much needed debate around safe spaces on campus.

Thirteenth Humanities and Social Sciences Conference at LUMS on April 11, 2019



DRF presented its research on the roundtable “Sexual Harassment and #MeToo” as part of the Humanities and Social Sciences Conference. Zainab and Shmyla presented regarding online harassment law and the risks that inhere in these spaces. The roundtable was followed by a question and answer session that explored the future of the #MeToo movement in Pakistan.

LUMS Amnesty International Panel on “Human Rights and #MeToo” on April 19, 2019


Shmyla represented DRF in Amnesty International’s Human Rights conference at LUMS. The Panel on the human rights implications of #MeToo with Sabahat Zakariya delved into the law around harassment and the efficacy of call-out culture.

DRF released the third episode of e-Baithak podcast


DRF released the third episode of e-Baithak podcast, “Where we discover #GirlsinICT Day and TikTok”, marking Girls in ICT Day by having an in-depth discussion about women’s participation in tech fields and the issue of access to ICTs for women and young girls. DRF also discussed the phenomenon that is TikTok in our lighter segment.

Listen to the podcast here.

Nighat Dad spoke on surveillance capitalism in Naomi Klein’s class in Rutgers University



Seminar on Online Harassment in Punjab University on April 2, 2019


Zainab and Shmyla conducted a seminar on sexual harassment online and the need for online safe spaces Punjab University. The seminar explored questions of consent and the legal definition of harassment, both on campus and off it.

Panel discussion by HRCP on media freedoms


Shmyla Khan represented DRF at a panel discussion titled “Speaking truth to power’: Attacks on the journalist community” at the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on April 7, 2019. The panel was attended by senior journalists such as Najam Sethi, Marvi Memon, Munize Jahangir and Mehmal Sarfraz. There was an in depth discussion about censorship in the media and the insecurity faced by journalists in Pakistan.

National Feminist Convening on April 6 - 7th organised by Shirkat Gah


DRF participated in Shirkat Gah’s annual National Feminist Convening, which focused on the future of the feminist movement and the majar themes of the women’s rights movement.

Members of Network of Women Journalists for Digital Rights continued to pen blogs


Members of DRF's Network of Women Journalists for Digital Rights continued to share articles and blogs on digital rights issues which can be found on the Hamara Internet website here. The Network advocates for women and other minority groups to have safe access to online platforms, where they can exercise their constitutional right of free speech without facing constant threats. The Network members pen articles to document these threats, bring forward issues in the implementation of legislation to prevent and protect women journalists from gender-based discrimination and sexual harassment both online and offline and also advocate their access to effective remedies.

May 14, 2019 - Comments Off on Doxxing: What is it and How You Can Protect Yourself

Doxxing: What is it and How You Can Protect Yourself

"Ever come across personal advertisements online? Where personal numbers are posted for seeking sexual acts? Or just someone’s address randomly floating around?

“I got doxxed by a stranger and the online harassment took over my life.”

“I got doxxed, stalked and harassed by men I have never met in my life.”

“Strange men won’t stop calling me and responding to an ad I know nothing of!”

Such incidents are all too familiar in an online forum where a rule against publishing personal information is disregarded.The essence of doxxing isn’t simply the privacy of the information. It’s how it’s used.

The term dox comes from the idea of collecting documents or “docs” about an individual.

The collection and publishing of this private information online, is usually done with the intent of inciting harassment in real life. It can involve anything from personal photographs, telephone numbers, social security number, credit card/banking information, home address and social media profiles and so on and so forth. Doxing often uses personally identifiable information, or a combination of non-personal information that can be weaponised to reveal the identity of an individual.

Although this fad has been around in the hacker community since the 1990’s, it has now become a major threat to anyone who uses the internet. When you “dox” someone you are documenting their personal information. It's a weapon and it can be used for good or evil. However, it is mostly used as a method of attack.

Hackers have developed different ways to dox, but one of the most common methods is by finding the victim’s email. Once the email has been obtained, the hacker works to uncover the password and open the victims account to obtain more personal information.This leads to impersonation, identity theft, financial fraud and defamation. And once the hacker has the adequate amount of information they need it leads to online harassment and in many cases; stalking.

The internet is a giant engine for uncovering and disseminating information. That can definitely  be an amazing tool for holding people accountable. But it can also be a way to ruin people’s lives- be it their jobs, money and even their families!

Doxing can potentially be one of the most violent things a person can do to someone from a distance.

It's an effective tool for bad actors, because the internet can cough up a shocking amount of publicly available information about practically anyone.

People generally don't think about their online security, until it's too late. What people can really give about you is stuff that you've already given away about yourself.

While there are specific steps everyone can take to guard their privacy online, the stark reality is that anyone can be a victim of doxing, especially with the vast variety of search tools and information easily available online. And while there's no perfect defense against it, there are ways you can prepare for it and help mitigate the fall out.

Here are some ways you can protect yourself and ensure this doesn’t happen to you

  • Be aware of how much personal information you are sharing. Make sure that the details you share cannot be pieced together to create a completely identifying profile.
  • Never share personally identifying information. If you have posted your address, phone number, or other information that could be used to identify you, you would want to reconsider putting it up.
  • You may know people who have thousands of “friends” on Facebook. While the internet is a great way to connect be mindful of the information that is made accessible to these people once you accept their friend request. Only allow people who you trust on Facebook.
  • Avoid posting details about where you work. Don’t write about where your children go to school; it is safer to enforce a policy of not posting photos of your children and ask anyone else who takes pictures of them at events not to post them online.
  • Make sure google does not have any personal data about you. Simply google your name and number to see if you’ve revealed who you are on internet forums. Delete any information you may find.

Realistically though, hiding all of your personal information and becoming anonymous goes against the very point of social media. But it does makes sense never to post your address, phone number, or birthday online, but people can infer a lot about you based on seemingly innocuous posts even little details like where you work and where you ‘check in” while you’re out.

Deleting old posts and making sure to be careful in the future is an option, or you could go nuclear and delete your social media accounts altogether, but most people won’t be bothered to do so. So just please don’t post your debit card online!

If you feel like you are being doxxed and don’t know what to do, here are some pointers to keep in mind:

  • Remember to save everything. If you must delete, take a screenshot first, deleting might impact your ability later if you need to take legal action.
  • Your safety is the No.1 priority. Remember to breathe and think clearly. Whatever negative stories are uploaded, please note that this is not your fault. You are not alone. People will step up to help in any way possible. You deserve it and this way, there's somewhat of a witness present.

The large majority of doxxing incidents are just people collecting your personal information from social media sites, not any actual computer hacking. It’s hard to stop it from happening because people generally share way too much info freely online, and even relatively private people could fall victim to it.

If you have been doxxed, where your personal information which you consider to be private and sensitive has been published online and you interpret this dox to be an explicit or an implicit threat, you can use reporting mechanisms within the social media website or and call us on DRF’s helpline on 0800-39393 between 9AM to 5PM.


Written by: Zinnoor Butt