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February 15, 2021 - Comments Off on January 2021 Newsletter: DRF Conducted Advocacy Campaign on WhatApp’s New Privacy Policy

January 2021 Newsletter: DRF Conducted Advocacy Campaign on WhatApp’s New Privacy Policy

Online Campaigns and Initiatives

Whatsapp New Policy


WhatsApp's new privacy policy has been met with a lot of criticism online, and rightfully so. WhatsApp is essentially forcing users to share their data with Facebook, otherwise they will not be able to use WhatsApp. #WhatsappNewPolicy


DRF conducted a social media advocacy campaign on this year’s International Data Privacy Day which is observed on the 28th of January. The campaign involved videos covering the basics of what is data and privacy, as well as guest videos from noted rights activists and digital landscape stakeholders such as Anum Malkani of CERP, Usama Khilji of Bolo Bhi and former Senator Farhatullah Babar. The campaign ran for a week and was concluded on the 3rd of February with a Tweetchat with DRF’s Project Managers and Directors having a discussion on how privacy informs their work and what a model data privacy law would look like, from their perspective.

Policy Initiatives

Justice Ayesha Malik passes judgement on the ‘two-finger test’

Justice Ayesha Malik passed a judgement in the Lahore High Court today outlawing the ‘two finger test’ and hymen testing of female victims of sexual violence. This is a monumental judgement in the arena of women’s rights in Pakistan.



DRF in collaboration with FNF launches the Hamara Internet Young Adults Curriculum on Online Safety

Online Safety of Young Adults Curriculum aims to help students and young people develop a better understanding of how the online world operates, particularly since Coronavirus (COVID19) has restricted us to our homes and shifted most of our work to the digital spaces.
Helpline January Stats:

Cyber Harassment Helpline received 257 complaints in the month of January. It shows that there is a trend  in the cases of online violence especially blackmailing through non consensual use of information and images. Another observed trend is of social engineering through which people are coerced into sharing their personal details like National Identity Card number, WhatsApp code, bank account details and, e-wallet details making them susceptible to hacking and financial fraud.

Media Coverage

Nighat Dad on Arab News sharing how Signal, Telegram and Wire are more privacy friendly

In an interview with Arab News, Nighat Dad discussed how platforms such as Signal, Telegram and Wire are more “privacy friendly”, while also highlighting the privacy concerns around WhatsApp and its potential implications.

Nighat Dad on 7 News talking about the new Whatsapp Policy

In an interview on 7 News, Nighat Dad discussed the implications of the new WhatsApp privacy policy, what interventions can be made to enhance the privacy of users, and how platforms such as Signal, Telegram and Wire offer more in terms of privacy and security.

Nighat Dad on GNN talking about the new Whatsapp Policy

In an interview on GNN, Nighat Dad provided insights on whether Pakistan can formulate a better legislative framework for privacy and digital security, in addition to discussing the implications of WhatsApp’s new privacy policy and how it could compromise the privacy of its users.

DRF’s Nighat Dad shares her thoughts on Whatsapp’s data policy

In an interview with Samaa News, Nighat Dad discussed how WhatsApp’s clarification on its new data-sharing policy is not convincing enough, and it leaves a lot of questions to be answered on how the platform can protect the digital security and privacy of its users.

WhatsApp clarification on data-sharing unconvincing, says Pakistani digital rights activist

DRF’s Nighat Dad’s thoughts on Whatsapp alternative to be launched

In an interview for Bol News, Nighat Dad discussed the news around an alternative for WhatsApp to be launched specifically in Pakistan, and its potential implications on privacy and digital security in Pakistan.

DRF’s Nighat Dad’s shares her thoughts on Breaking Laws on TikTok

In an article for Vice News, Nighat Dad shared her thoughts on how individuals are sharing legally questionable content on TikTok, especially pertaining to firearms, stating that it is important for the platform to have clear and accessible messaging about safety.

واٹس ایپ پرائیویسی پالیسی پر پاکستان میں تشویش، ڈیٹا پروٹیکشن قانون مسئلے کا حل ہے؟

As quoted by Voice of America Urdu, Nighat Dad articulates the need for a comprehensive data protection policy by the government, to protect the interests of domestic users, especially in light of WhatsApp’s change in privacy policy.

واٹس ایپ کی نئی پالیسی: سگنل اور ٹیلی گرام کے ڈاؤن لوڈز میں تیزی سے اضافہ، واٹس ایپ کے لیے خطرے کی گھنٹی؟

As quoted by BBC Urdu, Nighat Dad gives a comprehensive insight into what WhatsApp’s privacy policy changes entail, and what alternative measures are available to protect the privacy and digital security of users in Pakistan.

سائبر سیکیورٹی: دورِ حاضر کی اشد ضرورت

In an interview with Daily Jang, Nighat Dad explains what constitutes digital security, and how in light of WhatsApp's privacy policy changes, Pakistani users can protect their privacy online.

Virginity tests for female rape survivors outlawed by Pakistani court

In an interview with The Guardian, Nighat Dad discussed the recent outlawing of virginity tests for female rape survivors in Pakistan, citing it as the culmination of a history of activism and built on the hard work that the feminist movement has been engaging in for decades.

Strong data protection law under study

In an interview with Dawn, Nighat Dad discussed the government’s intention to formulate stronger data protection laws in the country, which could be as draconian as the Pakistan Electronic Crimes Act (PECA), which compromises personal data of users.

Cybercrime peaked during lockdown- will 2021 be any different?

In an article published on Geo News, Nighat Dad discusses the Digital Rights Foundation’s cybercrime statistics during lockdown, and gives an insight into how incidences of online harassment and abuse increased during the pandemic.

Source Fact Check

In the aftermath of the unfounded allegations pertaining to embezzlement of foreign funds being levied against Nighat Dad, this article renders these allegations to be false and defamatory in nature.

Mehwish Batool wins competition with her pitch on combating COVID19: A situation analysis

In an insightful report published by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, and written by Mehwish Batool, Pakistan’s response to Covid-19 related fake news is discussed, and what can be done to contain the spread of this era of disinfodemic in the wake of the second wave.

Events and Sessions

Nighat Dad speak on Shaping Empowered Societies at World Economic Forum

In a panel interview at the World Economic Forum, Nighat Dad discussed what policies, practices and partnerships are needed to empower individuals, communities and society to unlock the value of data.

Nighat Dad speaks to the German ambassador to Pakistan about women rights and online freedom of expression

In a meeting with Bernard Schlagheck, German Ambassador to Pakistan, Nighat Dad had a detailed discussion on the state of women rights and online freedom of expression in the country, and what barriers prevent these liberties from being extended effectively.

DRF conducts Two Day Training of Punjab Women Protection Authority’s Gender Based Violence Helpline

DRF conducted a two-day training workshop Punjab Women Protection Authority’s Gender Based Violence Helpline in collaboration with Dastak. The training included gender-sensitisation, fostering a human rights approach and victim-centric approach to cases, knowledge about laws dealing with gender-based violence and tackling mental health issues.

Digital Rights Litigation and Advocacy and Nigeria: How we have fared?

The Struggle Against Gender-Based Violence and the way forward

In a panel discussion organised by the University of Central Punjab on Gender Based Violence, Nighat Dad gave an insight into various policy interventions that could be made to protect women being subjected to violence, and to prevent that violence from perpetuating in society.

Digital Security during COVID and Beyond Human Rights

On the 25th and 27th of January, an online session was conducted by the Digital Rights Foundation. This online session specifically focused on human rights defenders, especially those from minority communities, and how they can navigate through online spaces in a safe and effective manner.

Digital safety training

Training on digital safety tools and laws regarding online spaces was conducted with members of minority groups and human rights defenders. It was conducted on 22nd January 2020. The workshop aimed to build the capacity of the participants in knowledge of basic tools, hands-on training of the tools, knowledge and applicability of the laws that apply to the digital spaces and how an individual can continue using digital spaces safely and effectively.

Panel discussion on Digital Rights and Advocacy with University of Karachi

This seminar hosted by University of Karachi explored issues of privacy and digital rights in Pakistan through Facebook Live. The panelists focused on the digital threats journalists, women and activists face in online spaces.

Aga Khan Youth and Sports Board: Soch, Youth Weekend Camp

Aga Khan Youth and Sports Board for Central Region (AKYSB) organized a two day camp for students aged 15-17 years. The camp included a session on cyberbullying and digital safety for students to equip them with the technical and soft skills to keep themselves safe while using the virtual platforms.

Goethe-Institut Pakistan Webinar: Taking charge of your online identity

DRF conducted a seminar for children from the age of 14 - 16 year-old students on understanding online threats faced by young students on social media. The students were given information about keeping themselves safe online.

COVID-19 Updates

Cyber Harassment Helpline

Cyber harassment helpline is now available 5 days a week from 9 am to 5 pm through its toll free number and social media platforms. You can contact the helpline on 080039393 or email us at [email protected] between 9 am to 5 pm (monday - friday).

Ab Aur Nahin

In times of COVID19 domestic abuse is at an all time high where victims do not have anywhere to go. Ab Aur Nahin is a confidential legal and counselor support service specifically designed for victims of harassment and abuse.

IWF Portal

DRF in collaboration with Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) and the Global Fund to End Violence Against Children launched a portal to combat children’s online safety in Pakistan. The new portal allows internet users in Pakistan to anonymously report child sexual abuse material in three different languages- English, Urdu and Pashto.

Published by: Digital Rights Foundation in Newsletter

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