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From Our Member Bytes for All, Pakistan – Publication: Dangers of Digital Surveillance

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Pakistan legitimised digital surveillance by broadening the scope of existing legal framework and enacting new disproportionate laws, including the Investigation for Fair Trial Act 2013 and Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016. Unbridled powers to conduct unlawful and arbitrary interceptions on digital communications of citizens, and personal and private data have been granted to law enforcement agencies (LEAs). Journalists and human rights defenders (HRDs) are subjects of digitally enabled surveillance of both the State and non-state actors, who often work hand-in-hand. This absurd relationship and proxy relationship has become the reason of losing their sources of information.It has also been cultivating a profuse environment of fear and intimidation, in the end resulting in self-censorship and restriction in their free movement. This paper maps out the underlying trends and challenges to freedoms of expression and of movement of journalists and HRDs due to digital surveillance. It also examines the roles of different actors involved in this process who are becoming responsible for self-censorship in Pakistan.

For a pdf of the full publication, click here.