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November 3, 2013 - Comments Off on Bye bye privacy: The world is watching

Bye bye privacy: The world is watching

Silicon chips used in computers and various electronic devices have shrunk with astonishing speed over the past couple of decades. From slower devices spread over an area equivalent to a small living room, we have moved to faster ones less than a centimetre thick.

This decrease in size, though highly beneficial to professionals and students, has side effects as well. The size of surveillance gadgets has also shrunk, and though this might be good news for law enforcement agencies, their abundant availability in the open market is alarming.

“The sale of hidden cameras has increased manifolds in the last six months,” said Rashid, a shopkeeper in a bustling Rawalpindi market who said law-enforcement agencies have no checks in place to monitor or regulate their sale.

The spike in camera-equipped cell phone ownership also has drawbacks.


“The government should urgently draft policies to regulate the open sale of surveillance equipment. The purpose and parameters of their use needs to be checked,” said Digital Rights Foundation Pakistan Director Nighat Dad. She said

to check the abuse of spy equipment, laws are needed to monitor their misuse. Interestingly, despite the presence of the much-criticised Fair Trial Act 2012 that authorises the government to intercept private communications in order to track suspected terrorists, law enforcement agencies have yet to be provided with the necessary gadgetry. Yet, a worrying number of ordinary citizens carry the 007-ish tools with them, leaving police officials annoyed by the government’s failure to adequately equip them.

“These spying devices should be in possession of the police and investigation agencies, but despite several announcements by higher officials, the police department has yet to be equipped,” said a Rawalpindi police officer requesting anonymity.

In the meanwhile, always remember to assume everything online — no matter how secure — can be accessed by the public, and then, the world is watching you.

For complete article, check Tribune.

Published by: Digital Rights Foundation in Blog, DRF in Media

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