Digital Rights Foundation (DRF) has hosted the “Right to Privacy in The Digital Age” conference on Thursday in Islamabad.
The objective of the conference was to bring together civil society stakeholders and have a detailed and proactive debate towards a progressive balance between privacy, surveillance and oversight.
The first session focused on ‘Data blind spots – Why Pakistan needs Data Protection Laws’ The panel included Digital Rights Executive Director Nighat Dad, lawyer Angbeen Mirza, Senator Farhatullah Babar, Courting the Law founder Taimur Malik, Digital Rights Foundation’s Shmyla Khan, and IT expert Salman Ansari. The panel discussed the need for data protection laws and policies in Pakistan.
During the session, Farhatullah Babar said that rights need to be ensured before regulations were created, but Pakistan was witnessing the opposite trend. He encouraged civil society stakeholders to reach out to their parliamentarians and sensitise them to ensure that they take up these issues.
The second panel, ‘Holding Telecom Companies Accountable – How private is your data?’ Digital Rights Foundation presented some of the findings of its research on telecom companies and their privacy policies in Pakistan. Usama Khilji moderated the session with Security Expert Arzak Khan, DRF’s Adnan Chaudhry, Cyber Security Professional Mubashar Sargana, Express Tribune’s Gibran Ashraf, and DRF’s Shmyla Khan.
The third panel ‘Gendered surveillance – targeting women journalists’ focused on the right to privacy and the ever increasing surveillance from a gendered lens. DRF also gave a preview of its upcoming research on women journalist who had been under surveillance.
Media Matters for Democracy’s Sadaf Khan, while moderating the session, said that women need to support each other online, and come out publicly in solidarity. The speakers included Open Founation Soceity’s Kashif Ysinzada, Neo Tv’s Special Correspondent Iffat Hassan Rizvi, Dawn’s Editor Hamna Zubair, and DRF’s Gender and Tech Coordinator, Luavut Zahid.
The event was organised in collaboration with Privacy International and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom. Digital Rights Foundation (DRF) is a research based advocacy organisation based in Pakistan focusing on ICTs to support human rights, democratic processes and better digital governance.