Archives for July 2019

July 26, 2019 - Comments Off on Data Protection Legislations around the world

Data Protection Legislations around the world

When the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was signed in 2016 (and ratified in 2018), it replaced the ancient law regarding data protection which was signed in 1995. It can be appropriately referred to as ancient because in today’s world, the pace at which new technology is surfacing is both astonishing and hard to keep up with. For example, in 1995 (when the EU passed its previous data protection law), Google was not even registered as a domain name. This shows just how quickly the technological landscape is evolving and with every new discovery, come new threats to the privacy of the citizen. Actions that were never thought to be possible are possible today and they pose a huge threat to individuals’ privacy.

Keeping in mind all the problems mentioned, the GDPR is considered by many to be the “Gold Standard” of data protection laws around the world. It keeps in mind many problems that have been swept under the rug before including audit trails of consent, the right to be forgotten (conditional) and unconditional adherence to the law itself disregarding where the organization in question originates from.

With all that said, the GDPR is only implemented in the EU. The situation of data protection in the rest of the world varies greatly. Some countries have data protection laws that match up to the GDPR while some countries don’t even have a legislation catering to the privacy of its citizens. The countries proven by the EU to have an adequate data protection legislation are:

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Japan
  • New Zealand
  • The entire EU (Since the United Kintgdom still hasn’t exited the EU, the data inside the UK is protected by the GDPR)
  • Uruguay

Some countries have legislation that is considered partially adequate by the EU. Those countries are:

  • Canada
  • USA

A lot of countries have data protection laws but they are considered inadequate in the modern times by the EU. Those countries are:

  • Angola
  • Bahamas
  • Benin
  • Bhutan
  • Bolivia
  • Burkina Faso
  • Chad
  • Chile
  • China
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Gabon
  • Ghana
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Israel
  • Ivory Coast
  • Jamaica
  • Lesotho
  • Madagascar
  • Malavi
  • Malaysia
  • Mali
  • Mexico
  • Morocco
  • Nepal
  • Nicaragua
  • Nicaragua
  • Niger
  • Oman
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Russia
  • Senegal
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tunisia
  • UAE
  • Vietnam
  • Yemen
  • Zambia

 

Any country that isn’t mentioned in the list above either doesn’t have a data protection law or doesn’t have any data regarding its legislation. However, a few countries are in the legislation making process and they may have a data protection law in the near future. These countries include:

  • Brazil
  • Ecuador
  • Honduras
  • Iraq
  • Jamaica
  • Jordan
  • Kenya
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Panama
  • Tanzania
  • Thailand
  • Togo
  • Uganda
  • Zimbabwe

 

Soon

Mohammad Owais Sabri is an Alevels student at LACAS

 

 

 

July 24, 2019 - Comments Off on DRF at the conference on “Standing Up against Online Harassment of Women Journalists – What works?” at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris

DRF at the conference on “Standing Up against Online Harassment of Women Journalists – What works?” at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris

Digital Rights Foundation’s (DRF) Executive Director, Ms. Nighat Dad, attended the conference “Standing up against online harassment of women journalists - What works?”, organized by members of the Group of Friends for the Safety of Journalists in cooperation with the UNESCO Communication and Information Sector on 18th June. The event followed decisions by UNESCO’s 39th General Conference and the 206th Executive Board that called upon UNESCO to reinforce and prioritize activities aimed at addressing the specific threats to the safety of women journalists, both online and offline. Online harassment is a growing and ubiquitous problem faced by women journalists around the world. Several studies have demonstrated the psychological distress and impact of threats, violence and abuse to women journalists’ work and health, which affects gender equality but also freedom of expression and diversity in the media. 

The event brought together over 200 member state representatives, journalists and legal professionals to explore new ways to reinforce the safety of women journalists. Ms. Dad, while talking about the practical and legal measures to tackle online harassment of women journalists, pressed the need for more accountability from social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, where abuse against women journalists is rampant.

DRF at RightsCon 2019 


DRF team attended RightsCon 2019, a leading summit on human rights in the digital age, from 11th to 14th June 2019, in Tunis. DRF team was part of interesting debates around fake news, surveillance, data protection, gender and privacy. Nighat Dad, the Executive Director of DRF, spoke on various panels and discussions highlighting the state of digital rights in global south especially Pakistan. She also  discussed the shrinking civil spaces online and offline, the explosion of data and decline of privacy in the region, and spurring challenges due to the emergence of new tools and technologies in Pakistan. She emphasized on social media companies to formulate such policies that grant security to citizens and their data in online spaces.

DRF laid special emphasis on mental health and the stressors involved with it in this field. DRF’s Program Manager, Jannat Fazal, hosted a session titled, ‘Where there is burnout there is no innovation: Managing stressors for a better physical and mental health’.  The session focused on burnout and the factors of our work and culture reinforcing them. Ways to overcome systemic dispositions in activist community as well as in organizations were charted out to help participants in managing their stressors.

DRF at Privacy International Annual Meeting, London

DRF was represented by Executive Director Nighat Dad and Zainab Durrani at Privacy International’s Partners’ Meeting held in London between the 25th and 27th of June, 2019. This annual event consisted of a two-day workshop entitled ‘Building a sustainable Global Network’ with organizations from 15+ countries joining in.

The third day of the event was dedicated to the SIDA partner meeting wherein work being done by the partners on issues pertaining to gender, health and privacy were discussed, giving us the chance to learn from the varying trajectories of the other organizations involved and also allowing us to showcase and reflect on the themes and projects DRF engages in and strives to achieve.

DRF organized a five-day residency in collaboration with Pakistan-U.S. Alumni Network

N
2       3

all

To support a safer and healthier digital society in Pakistan, the Pakistan-U.S. Alumni Network (PUAN) in collaboration with Digital Rights Foundation (DRF) held a five-day master class in residence, “Creating Leaders for a Better Digital Society” in Lahore from 17th June to 21st June. This in-depth training program provided 36 alumni of U.S. government exchange programs from across Pakistan with the necessary tools and skills in digital literacy and citizenship to become leaders in creating a better digital society.

 U.S. Consul General Colleen Crenwelge, who spoke with the participants on the last day of the workshop stated, “The U.S. government is delighted to support the Digital Rights Foundation’s efforts to inform the public about online rights and responsibilities.”

Click here to read the press release.

Nighat Dad talks about online hate speech on TRT World

 

Ms. Dad talked about online hate speech and whether tech companies can be trusted in the program, Roundtable, on TRT World. A conservative commentator who published a series of racist and homophobic attacks on YouTube, has been allowed to keep his platform. It is raised new questions about whether technology companies are sticking to their own rules on hate speech.

Ms. Dad talked about how hate speech in Pakistan is different as compared to hate speech in other parts of the world and that it is important to make tech companies realize this. She mentioned that hate speech in Pakistan, unfortunately, can have real life repercussions for people like activists and journalists who only have online spaces where they can exercise their right to speak, as offline spaces is already shrinking. Hence tech companies need to be vigilant and have better content regulation policies.

Session on Cyber Harassment at Fatima Memorial Hospital (FMH) College of Medicine & Dentistry

HL
DRF conducted a session on cyber harassment on 27th June at FMH College of Medicine & Dentistry. There were 40 to 50 students present at the session and the discussion revolved around the types of harassment that exists online and how people can protect themselves from trolling and harassment online. A healthy debate on memes also took place and the students were sensitized about the detrimental consequences of making memes about someone.

DRF at the conference on ‘Is Propaganda Protected Speech?’, Netherlands 

A conference took place in Hague, Netherlands on 28th June where it was discussed if state-sponsored disinformation is a protected form of free speech or not and the available recourse when it harms people and institutions. Ms. Nighat Dad attended the conference and spoke on a panel, “Digital and Civic Solutions”. The panel took an in-depth look at the phenomena of state-sponsored disinformation campaigns, how they shape the contemporary information space, the use of social media platforms, the impact of false accounts and bots that have become prevalent and served as amplifiers for state-run media storylines. Ms. Dad also shared her experience of operating on this new digital-media battlefield and discussed the impact of inauthentic digital content.

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

        Soon  Soon Soon
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.

Joint Statement on the Internet Shutdown in Rakhine and Chin States by DRF and Other Civil Society Organizations

Internet shutdown was imposed in conflict-affected areas of Rakhine and Chin States on 21st June 2019 by the Myanmar authorities. The shutdown had created an information black hole in those areas and DRF, in collaboration with other civil society organizations, released a joint statement condemning this act without prior notice. The statement also read “The UN Human Rights Council has repeatedly adopted resolutions, most recently in 2018, identifying uninterrupted internet access as a fundamental enabler for the enjoyment of human rights”. Click here to read the full statement.

July 22, 2019 - Comments Off on DRF and PUAN conducted a five-day residency ‘Creating Leaders for a Better Digital Society’ in Lahore

DRF and PUAN conducted a five-day residency ‘Creating Leaders for a Better Digital Society’ in Lahore

To support a safer and healthier digital society in Pakistan, the Pakistan- U.S. Alumni Network (PUAN) in collaboration with Digital Rights Foundation (DRF) held a five-day master class in residence, “Creating Leaders for a Better Digital Society” in Lahore from 17th June till 21st June. This in-depth training program provided 36 alumni of U.S. government exchange programs from across Pakistan with the necessary tools and skills in digital literacy and citizenship to become leaders in creating a better digital society.

U.S. Consul General Colleen Crenwelge, who spoke with the participants on the last day of the workshop stated, “The U.S. government is delighted to support the Digital Rights Foundation’s efforts to inform the public about online rights and responsibilities.”

Developments in digital communications have had profound effects on the world in which we live. Though technological advances have driven economic growth and facilitated global connectivity, these developments come hand in hand with its demerits. Free, instant access to global news on the internet has brought with it the threat of widespread disinformation; the miracles of e-commerce have been accompanied by the scourge of identity theft; and while social media has made it easier for us to maintain global networks of friends, it has also facilitated online harassment and cyberbullying. We have also repeatedly seen the effects of online spaces in our lives offline which shows how integration of the internet with our lives is quite real. The five-day residency engaged the participants in various activities, discussions and group work and also touched upon the importance of online safety and security.

Thanking the U.S Consulate for their support, Nighat Dad said, “We are hopeful that our collective efforts to mainstream digital rights will create leaders amongst PUAN’s alumni who will benefit their communities and play a significant role in making online spaces safe. Digital rights have been excluded from the basic human rights framework until now and through trainings like these we will be able to make people more aware about the evolving online threats like cyber harassment, cyber bullying, fake news and disinformation and hate speech.”

Contact person: 
Seerat Khan 
Advocacy and Outreach Manager 

 

July 15, 2019 - Comments Off on What to do if your sensitive information is leaked online

What to do if your sensitive information is leaked online

Soon

Earlier this year, a girl in Badin district of Sindh committed suicide.The reports revealed later that she was being blackmailed online by some local boys over her edited pictures. The perpetrators sent the edited images to her fiance and the engagement was called off. The blackmailing and shaming has been identified by the police as a cause of the suicide. 

These unfortunate incidents are not uncommon. A couple of years ago, Naila Rind a student at Sindh University, committed suicide following exploitation and blackmail by her ex-partner after the two exchanged photos of an intimate nature.

Blackmailing with sensitive images is a form of sexual violence that is derived by an intent to shame, control, humiliate, extort and terrorize victims. Being blackmailed with the threat of distribution of your pictures or discovering intimate images of yourself online posted without your consent can leave severe emotional damage and physical repercussions for a person. This has pushed so many people, mostly women, towards committing suicide in extreme case due to the cultural pressure of shame and guilt. 

It’s important that we are aware of our digital rights and the laws which exist to protect those rights. 

What does the law say about it? 

In reference to Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) 2016:
Intentionally and publicly exhibiting sensitive images and videos which is harmful to a natural person or his reputation to take revenge, blackmail or create hatred shall be punished under s21 of PECA for a term which may extend to five years.

Even if the pictures or videos were initially shared  with someone consensually they have no right to share it with other people or use them online.

Blackmailing people with their intimate and sensitive images and threatening to upload or distribute those images to the victim’s family is equally punishable under law.

What to do if your sensitive images or videos are leaked online? 

Don't Panic:

it is inevitable to feel anxious and overwhelmed at this trying time but try disengaging from these feelings for a bit and finding ways to get through it. It may seem hard but it’s not impossible.

Know your rights:

The intention of the perpetrator is to control you by trapping you into guilt or cycle of blackmail. Know that the only person who is guilty of offense is the person who is withholding your data without your consent and blackmailing you to distribute it to other people.

Look for online removal of your data:

If you discover your sensitive images or videos online, try to look for the reporting mechanism of the website and file a copyright complaint asking to remove your data. Social media websites already have built in mechanisms to deal with such privacy violations.

Report to law enforcement authorities:

There are more than 15 Cybercrime Wings of FIA working throughout the country to enforce the law. Go to your nearest FIA office and file a complaint. Make sure that you gather all the evidence and print it out before you go along with an application addressed to the Deputy Director of the relevant FIA office.

Help is just a ring away:

If you are unable to report sensitive information or get it removed, know that you can call us on our cyber harassment helpline and we will help escalate the process in getting them removed.
Even if you’re feeling emotional distress, you can call us and our mental health expert. This is a traumatic experience and it is completely normal for someone to feel violated.