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August 28, 2019 - Comments Off on Women In Journalism

Women In Journalism

So it is a well-known fact that journalism isn’t the safest option one can choose. A journalist exposes his/her views to the public, thus exposing a part of themselves. Be it a small scale freelance journalist or a major famous journalist, these polarizing opinions produce differing opinions and fuel arguments. Of-course there are people who argue rationally, respecting other opinions but the problem occurs when respect is thrown out of the window. When journalists’ online presence threatens their very existence. The word ‘existence’ here can unfortunately be used both generally and specifically.

Specifically, when most of these journalists holding unorthodox views present their views over a medium, they almost always have to face serious threats to themselves and their loved ones. The threats range from cyber-bullying, cyberstalking, cyber-harassment and public shaming to murder threats and enforced disappearances. From 2012 to 2016, UNESCO reported the killing of 530 journalists, two per week. Unsurprisingly, 56% of these deaths happened in developing countries or countries experiencing military conflicts. Unfortunate examples like that of Jamal Khashoggi show us that the growth of internet has done no favor to the status quo. The Fifth Domain has just provided another medium for these threats to circulate through, effectively worsening the situation. 

Having taken a look at all of these issues, it will still not be unreasonable to suggest that being a woman in journalism is a completely different ball game. Obviously all the issues presented above still affect women that are present in the journalism industry. In that essence, I guess calling the situation of women a completely “different” ball game might not entirely be true. A better explanation could be that women face all the issues men have to go through and more. 

While men are criticized, threatened or attacked due to their beliefs, most of the time women don’t even get the luxury of having their opinions conveyed. Even at a platform where their voices are broadcasted, they are shunned for things completely unrelated to their journalistic abilities. Comments about their appearance, their clothes, the way they speak and the amount of make-up they wear (or don’t wear). Similarly, the threats made to women are much more severe and appalling, ranging from sexual harassment to rape threats. Women are called “whores” and threatened to be paraded naked in the streets as a “walk of shame” over the internet. In certain instances, the faces of these journalists are copied on to explicit and sometimes even pornographic images and shared around the internet as memes. The issue, however, will only get worse with the improvement in technology. The above mentioned problem has been made worse with the use of deep-fake technology, creating fake compromising videos which are becoming more and more believable every passing day. 

This campaign of character assassination is possible because of the idea that women are “easy targets”. From the very beginning, the society believes that women have to be non-confrontational, that they have to be passive, that they have to stay neutral to harassment. This difference between problems faced by men and the problems faced by women exist, and it is accompanied with tragic outcomes that usually involve violence against women and deterioration of physical and mental health of women.

The day criticism on both sides of the gender scale is homogenous, would be a day of incredible celebrations and joy.

Generally, however, these issues affect journalism on a whole. Women for these reasons have stopped covering or presenting their opinions on the internet. It has narrowed the scope of intellectual discussion. In many senses, journalism is what’s supposed to take a society forward. To provide a society new topics to debate over. To bring up ideas that haven’t been talked about before and spark up discussion, inviting opinions and getting through to the public. Journalism is not only supposed to spark a debate amongst the educated, but also educate the uneducated. All of this stops when we as a society stop inviting opinions. It stops when women are harassed on and off the internet for presenting their opinions, even worse, for just being a woman.   


Mohammad Owais Sabri is an Alevels student at LACAS

August 28, 2019 - Comments Off on 66 women’s rights, human rights, digital rights and feminists groups endorse statement on internet blackout in Kashmir

66 women’s rights, human rights, digital rights and feminists groups endorse statement on internet blackout in Kashmir

We, a coalition of 66 women's rights, human rights, digital rights and feminists groups, condemn in the strongest possible terms the blatant violation of the right to freedom of expression, access to information, movement and peaceful assembly by the Indian government through a blanket network and internet shutdown in Jammu and Kashmir since the evening of August 4, 2019. We believe that access to communication networks, including the internet, is a fundamental human right and the current media blackout is tantamount to silencing the voices of millions of residents in Jammu and Kashmir.

We recognise that the current situation is not an aberration, it is rather part of a systematic effort by the BJP-led government to silence and exclude dissent from the region: the current internet and network shutdown is part of larger pattern of regular shutdowns in the disputed region; in 2019 alone 51 internet shutdowns have been imposed in Jammu and Kashmir. The right to access communication networks is an important prerequisite to the exercise to other democratic and fundamental rights, the people of Jammu and Kashmir have been systematically denied these rights.

It worries us that the latest shutdown has been expanded to block all communication, landline phones and cable TV in addition to the internet. Since August 4, 2019 there has been a complete media blackout on information inside and outside the conflict-ridden valley, in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which has been ratified by India:

“Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.”

The humanitarian impact of this blackout is palatable as family members have been unable to reach their loved ones inside Jammu and Kashmir. Freedom of movement has also severely restricted as curfew imposed under section 144 to stop movement during the day. These restrictions have thwarted the access basic services such as emergency medical care--the human cost of this blackout is immeasurable. Businesses in the region have suffered irreparable losses, devastating the local economy. 5,000 arrests have been made in a clampdown since the communications blackout started.

This communication blackout has been instrumentalized to remove a provision (Article 370) of the Indian Constitution that directly impacts the autonomy of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. We are extremely concerned that the pairing of the blackout with the passage of the constitutional amendment points towards a dangerous and draconian approach to democratic decision-making--the people of region cannot express their opinions regarding the decision and possibly have no way of knowing that the legal status of their home has drastically changed. We believe that communication networks during times of conflict and political turmoil are important to prevent further human rights violations and arbitrary measures. Given the excesses of the Indian army in the past, the lack of information and reporting from the region is extremely concerning.

We also condemn the uneven application of community guidelines and content regulation by social media companies such as Twitter to silence users critiquing the official narrative of the Modi-led Indian government and amplifying the voices of Kashmiris on the ground. According to estimates, more than 200 Twitter accounts have been suspended for posting about Kashmir. Furthermore notices have been sent to Twitter users for allegedly “violating the laws of India”. At a time when voices of people from the region are being systematically excluded, these suspensions and notices amount to gross negligence on the part of social media companies.

The United Nations has termed this communications blackout as “unprecedented”, “disproportionate” and constituting “collective punishment”. David Kaye, the UN’s special rapporteur on freedom of expression, stated: “I can’t recall a situation where there has been a total blackout of not only the two-way, multi-point communication systems that we are familiar with now – anything on the internet, WhatsApp etc – but also the one-direction communications like TV”.

We urge that urgent and strict action be taken by the international community to address the international law violations. We demand that the blanket ban on communication network be lifted with immediate effect. We stand in solidarity with the people of Jammu and Kashmir in their legitimate struggle for the right to determination.

August 28, 2019


Asma Jahangir Legal Aid Cell (AGHS) 
ASR Resource Centre 
Association for Behavior and Knowledge Transformation (ABKT) 
Aurat Foundation
Aurat Haq
Aurat March Karachi
Aurat March Lahore
AwazFoundationPakistan: Centre for Development Services 
Balochistan Media Association
Beaconhouse National University Feminist Community
Bolo Bhi, Pakistan
Bonded Labour Liberation Front (BLLF) 
Center for Artificial Intelligence
Center for Cyber Security Pakistan 
Center for Cyber Security Pakistan 
Centre for Social Justice 
Christian Muslim Peace 
Combine FiOS
Courting the Law, Pakistan
Damen Support Programme
Digital Rights Foundation (DRF), Pakistan
Farmers Development Organization FDO Pakistan
Freedom Network 
Girls at Dhabas
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan 
Human Rights Defenders United for Digital Rights
Institute for Peace and Secular Studies 
Institute of Research, Advocacy and development (IRADA), Pakistan
Internet Policy Observatory Pakistan 
Internet Policy Observatory Pakistan 
Joint Action Committee 
Khwendo kor
Media Matters for Democracy 
Minorities Rights Watch 
Network of Women Journalists for Digital Rights
Omar Asghar Khan Foundation 
Pakistan Press Foundation 
Participatory Welfare Services - PWS
Participatory Welfare Services, Layyah
Peasants women society Pakistan 
Quetta City Live
Shirkat Gah - Women’s Resource Centre 
Social Action Transformation of Humanity (SATH Pakistan)
South Asia Partnership - Pakistan 
SPACE (Sufism for Peace & Co-existence)
Takhleeq Foundation

The Cecil & Iris Chaudhry Foundation (CICF)
The SAWERA Foundation 

War Against Rape (WAR), Lahore
Women Action Forum Hyderabad 
Women Action Forum Islamabad 
Women Action Forum Karachi 
Women Action Forum Lahore 
Women Democratic Front 
Women’s Regional Network
Youth Observatory Pakistan

International Organisations 

Afro Leadership Cameroon
Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE)
Freedom Forum Nepal
Internet Sans Frontières

August 05, 2019 - Comments Off on A beginner’s guide to cybercrime and ways to ensure protection against it

A beginner’s guide to cybercrime and ways to ensure protection against it

What is cybercrime?

Cybercrime is defined as an activity in which a computer or other electronic networking device is involved in an illegal activity for pursuing financial or personal gain. A cyber criminal is someone who uses a digital device to gain access to a person’s personal information, confidential business information, government information or disable a device through illegal means among other activities. A majority of cases of cybercrime involve hacking and exploiting/blackmailing personal data of an individual or a company and selling/disseminating it online for financial or other reasons.

The types of cybercrime:

Under the new cybercrime law Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016, here are a list of cybercrime acts under the law marked as illegal:

  1. Unauthorized access to information system or data (PECA s.3)
  2. Glorification of an offence or encouraging that offence (PECA s.9)
  3. Coercing, intimidating, a sense of fear, panic and insecurity to ignite sectarian or ethnic hatred shall be punished with imprisonment for long term and a fine of 10 million rupees (s.10 of PECA)
  4. Use of internet services or software to defraud individuals or defame them (s.14 PECA)
  5. Intentionally spreading false information about a person which is known to be false and is exploiting the privacy and safety of the given individual (s.20 PECA)
  6. Intentionally and publicly exhibiting sensitive images and videos of an individual to harm their reputation or financial gain, blackmail, hatred shall punish the perpetuator with a jail term for 5 years or longer. (S.21 PECA)
  7. Intentionally producing, offering, or making available sexually explicit conduct of a minor without lawful justification (s.22, s.24 PECA)

A full copy of the cybercrime Act can be read here

How do you report cybercrime?

If you or an individual you know is facing harassment, intimidation or blackmail online, then here is a list of ways you can report to the authorities and bring the harasser to justice:

  1. Cyber harassment helpline by DRF: 0800-39393
  2. Register a complaint with your nearest cybercrime unit of the FIA (National Response Centre for Cyber Crime) by submitting a written application along with printed copies of evidence.
  3. The CPLC (Citizens Police Liaisons Committee) has set up a women’s complaint cell aimed at dealing with issues such as harassment, stalking and blackmail around the country. You can reach out to them using their phone number 1102, 021-35662222, 021-35682222.
  4. Madadgar National Helpline deals with helping women suffering from violence. You can reach out to their helpline service: (+92) 1098.
  5. If you are experiencing mental health issues due to online harassment you can seek psychological help at Rozan: 0800-22444.
Mahnoor jalal is currently doing her major in Liberal Arts from Beaconhouse National University

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



Mohammad Owais Sabri is an Alevels student at LACAS




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


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.

June 21, 2019 - Comments Off on Journalists Safety, Welfare and Protection Bill: recommendations

Journalists Safety, Welfare and Protection Bill: recommendations

DRF held a number of consultations with its Network of Women Journalists for Digital Rights (NWJDR) as well as other journalists to discuss the Journalists Safety, Welfare and Protection Bill and propose recommendations to the Ministry of Information. The recommendations are as follows:

  1. Impartiality and transparency
    1. If contributions to the safety fund can be made by any entity, there must be mechanisms in place to ensure that donors cannot assert their will as to where/how the funds are utilised.
    2. Some journalists believe that the funding sources ought to be regulated as it will be impossible for the council, prosecutor, fund etc to stay impartial if majority of the funding comes from a single source.
    3. Mechanisms must be in place to ensure that the council remains independent in fulfilling its duties.
    4. Mechanisms must be in place to ensure that the Special Prosecutor under the bill, who will make major decisions under the bill, including who to prosecute, is able to make these decisions without being swayed. This is especially important as some cases may be against state agencies.
  2. Scope and Definitions

    1. Although the bill is fairly inclusive, it should be more explicit in recognising freelance / independent journalists in order to ensure that key stakeholders, who are sometimes the most vulnerable, are not left out.
    2. Protections to apply to print, electronic and social media equally so that the right to freedom of expression is extended to all forms of media.
    3. Protection against criminal and civil action for defamation and reporting on issues of public importance.
  3. Enforcement

    1. The bill should include provisions that make it mandatory for media houses to maintain certain workplace standards including separate bathrooms for men and women, maternity leave, reporting mechanisms for harassment, regular training for journalists’ physical security
    2. The bill should directly penalise media houses that do not maintain these standards.
  4. Digital Safety

    1. Seeing as digital spaces have created large scale expansion of the mediums of expression used by journalists, the bill ought to include digital safety and security of journalists (as online violence can lead to physical violence).
    2. Journalists should not be barred from using VPNs.
    3. Reporting of online harassment cases should be streamlined through the National Response Center for Cyber Crime (NR3C), FIA taking up cases with urgency.
    4. Withdraw notification on regulating encryption-based communication.
    5. Guidelines and regulations for media houses to implement digital security and safety of their employees.
  5. Accessibility

    1. This Bill should be applied to the peripheral regions of Pakistan, such as Gilgit-Baltistan.

June 19, 2019 - Comments Off on 5 Tips to Keep in Mind Before Using Uber and Careem

5 Tips to Keep in Mind Before Using Uber and Careem


Ride-hailing apps like Uber and Careem has, undoubtedly, made it much more convenient to move around the city, especially for women. But it comes with its own risks.

Recently, in a facebook video, a case emerged where a driver robbed the rider of his phone in a careem and ran away. After investigation it was found that the person who was driving at that time was not a registered driver at careem. He used a blocked ID and got it reactivated somehow. This raises a lot of privacy issues in the way we use technology.

Over the past few months, law enforcement agencies have also seen an increased number of crime reports ranging from robbery to harassment from these transport services. It is imperative that one has to share personal data with the application and with drivers while calling a cab;including name, location, and phone number, the handling of real-time data. Due to this, concerns regarding privacy, have also been raised and fingers have been pointed.

Wondering how you can keep your safety intact without having to compromise on using these convenient services? Here are a few tips to make sure you are protected:

Maintain your anonymity:

Uber masks your number when you contact number when you connect with your driver but Careem offers both options. Always make sure that you call your driver anonymously than from your own number in careem as well.

Ride tracking

Always share the ride tracker with your family or someone you trust, especially when you’re travelling alone in the night. Moreover, turn your GPS on and track yourself on google maps to ensure that driver follows the right path towards your destination.

Double check the driver’s identity

Before you sit in the car, cross check the car’s registration number and the picture of the driver to make sure that it’s the same person careem and uber has registered.     

Always sit in the backseat

Sit in the back seat, especially if you’re riding alone. This helps ensure that you can safely exit on either side of the vehicle to avoid moving traffic, and it gives you and your driver some personal space

Call 15 in case of emergency

If you feel like someone is trying to make you feel uncomfortable, trust your intuition and call 15. With the help of CCTV cameras and tracking your phone’s location, dolphins will reach you immediately.

June 09, 2019 - Comments Off on DRF at RightsCon 2019

DRF at RightsCon 2019


DRF is proud to be heading towards RightsCon Tunis this week with a number of interesting sessions lined up especially for you! RightsCon brings together experts around the world to connect, strategize and come up with solutions regarding the evolving threats and issues individuals face online and offline.

We’d be part of interesting debates around fake news, surveillance, data protection, gender and privacy. We’re excited to bring our perspective to various emerging topics across the world and this year we will be laying a special emphasis on mental health and the stressors involved with the work that we do and how we cope with them. DRF’s Executive Director Nighat Dad along with the Program Manager of the Cyber Harassment Helpline Jannat Fazal will be speaking at various panels on throughout the week.


Jannat Fazal from DRF will be hosting a session on the 14th of June, Thursday titled, Where There Is Burnout There Is No Innovation: Managing stressors for a better physical and mental health from 2:15 pm till 3:30 pm. If you need further details about our session click on the link below:

DRF’s Executive Director Nighat Dad will also be speaking in 10 other sessions throughout #RightsCon. Keep a lookout for our sessions and here’s where you can find us:

12th June - Wednesday

Working it out - journalism in the digital area: why we need an international pledge for Information and Democracy now more than ever
9:00am - 10:15am
Host Organization: Reporters Without Borders

Global State of Data Protection
10:30am - 11:45am
Host Organization: Access Now

Discussion on the scope of responsibility when it comes to AI
12.45 pm- 1.45pm
Host: Article one and Microsoft Team
Landmark: Philanthropy in the 21st Century (Main stage)
2:15pm - 3:30pm
Host Organization: The Omidyar Group Philanthropy


Multi Stakeholder Models of Content Moderation: A global perspective
5:15pm - 6:30pm
Host Organization: Global Digital Policy Incubator (GDPi) - Stanford University, ARTICLE 19


13th June - Thursday

Changing practices of internet manipulation
9:00am - 10:15am
Host Organisation: The Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law (CIPIT) - Strathmore Law School

Warning! Access to the Internet Is Suspended for Security Reasons- A policy discussion on the effectiveness of internet shutdowns
2:15pm - 3:30pm
Host organization: Software freedom law center


Combating harassment of women journalists in extremism ridden online spaces
3:45pm - 5:00pm
Organiser: Committee to Protect Journalists


14th June- Friday

Online Dissidence in the Global South

9:00am - 10:15am
Organiser: Bolobhi


Moving Beyond the Problem: Pathways to meaningful consent online
10:30 - 11:45
Organiser: Human Rights Big Data and Technology Project - University of Essex

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

April 26, 2019 - Comments Off on Flirting vs Harassment: How To Spot the Difference

Flirting vs Harassment: How To Spot the Difference

A playful text message. A quick side hug. Staring from across the room.

The line between flirting and harassment is thin and often a blurred one.  What could feel good to one person may be an unwelcome act to another. How would you spot the difference between the two? The answer is summed up in one word - consent.

Sexual Harassment as a term is commonly defined as requests for sexual favours, unwelcome sexual advances, or even any physical or verbal conduct of a sexual nature in public, at the workplace or anywhere else.

Any act without consent would be considered as harassment and any sexual activity without consent is considered as sexual assault. An activity whether casual or sexual requires consent  and the level of comfort and its extent should be clearly communicated or else there could exist a possibility of it qualifying as a a form of harassment.

Harassment is degrading, demeaning, unwanted and often has a power dynamic involved .  There is no grey area when it comes to consent and an affirmative. Enthusiastic and specific answer is the way to follow . Yes is yes and no is a clear no.  Consent should be explicit and there should be no room for assuming that the other person feels the same way as the other. No assumptions should be made regarding consent and it is essential for it to be clear cut and explicit.

What positive consent looks like:

- An affirmative “yes” or “I am okay with this”
- Clearly communicating and asking “Would you agree/be ok to this?”
- Consent is without any sort of threat, intimidation, fraud or violence
- Has boundaries which are well defined and very specific

What consent does not look like:

- Pressuring someone or constantly insisting to welcome any advances even when the other person says no or looks uncomfortable
- Assuming that yes once is a yes every time
- Being in a committed relationship with  someone doesn’t mean you have their consent forever and on everything

Always remember that consent is always offered by the person’s own free will and without any  influence of anything and/or anyone.

Take consent as FRIES

F- Freely Given , R- Reversible , I- Informed, E- Enthusiastic, S- Specific

If you feel pressured into sharing your pictures and doing acts which make you feel uncomfortable and you need any advice or are feeling distressed, you can call on the Cyber Harassment Helpline on 0800-39393 from 9AM to 5PM.

Written by: Asma Parvez