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Strengthening data protection and privacy laws in Pakistan

A Pakistani man monitors data during a trading session in the halls of the Karachi Stock Exchange, 6 February 2014
A Pakistani man monitors data during a trading session in the halls of the Karachi Stock Exchange, 6 February 2014

Exclusive PAKISTAN-STOCKMARKET/ REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro

This statement was originally published on digitalrightsfoundation.pk on 13 October 2017.

In view of the commitments made by our government regarding the Open Government Partnership (OGP) and public statements by the Ministry of Information Technology (MoIT) to introduce a data protection law, Digital Rights Foundation has prepared a policy brief regarding data protection and privacy in the digital age.

Information and communications technologies provide immense opportunities and continue to grow in importance for all Pakistanis. However, their tremendous advancement has significantly impacted individuals' ability to protect their digital identity, allowing for pervasive collection of their personal information by private companies and the government.

This policy brief significantly expands the discussion on legal safeguards, the general lack of guidance on Privacy and the broad powers given to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) under the existing legal regime.

We at DRF believe that in order to ensure systemic change, government departments must be open to meaningful collaboration with civil society. We urge, therefore, that the law be drafted in a manner that is inclusive rather than exclusive, responding to consultations and recommendations, taking the input of civil society and the private sector to address the issues highlighted herewith.

These policy recommendations are part of larger efforts to ensure that the drafting process of our laws is held to public scrutiny, accountable and transparent, leading to an informed public debate about the lack of privacy protection for Pakistani citizens.

The policy brief can be found here, and we hope that our public officials will benefit from it as well.

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