Pakistani Government sniffs user data for law enforcement agencies

Avatar Written by Mehreen Omer · 1 min read>
Pakistani Government

The recent Conference on Privacy Rights held in Islamabad on 14th November by Digital Rights Foundation explored the issue of digital abuse, mass surveillance and the invasion of privacy online. Attended by prominent media practitioners policy-makers and lawyers, the conference shed light on the drafted Fair Trial Act 2013 and why there is an urgent need of legislation to protect the digital security of our citizens.

Most Pakistanis don’t know that our government actually purchased three types of FinFisher software from a German company producing surveillance technologies. The software enters a computer and collects all its files including any real-time transactions. This data is mostly used by law enforcement agencies in Pakistan.

If you are still wondering whether the technology you saw in Hollywood Sci-Fi thrillers is available in Pakistan yet, you’ll be amazed. Perhaps you haven’t heard about FinFly which is a USB stick that collects all the information on a computer when inserted into it, and the owner of the computer doesn’t get a clue.

And if you think that you are safe using public WiFi, FinFisher IT Intrusion will make you think again. It collects all the data of the users using a public WiFi, wherever they are.

Futhermore, many High Court judges have granted warrants to collect the information about a person under scrutiny and all the data collected this way can be used to prosecute a citizen who in turn is given hardly any chance to defend itself.

In a timely reminder to all of us, Digital Rights Foundation has shown us how important it is to protect our digital privacy and as such we need to have a better understanding of how the Internet works.

Written by Mehreen Omer
The writer is a digital media scientist and a cultural critic. You can catch her on Twitter @mehreen_omer Profile