Media Matters for Democracy (MMfD) is launching a campaign titled ‘Privacy Hum Sab Ke’ (Urdu for ‘Privacy for All’) to create awareness and advocate for data privacy and protection. In the light of recent leaks from security and CCTV cameras of both private and public organisations, the campaign aims to engage with multiple stakeholders on the issue and push for more protections of citizen rights. It aims to acknowledge the fundamental right to privacy which is guaranteed under Article 14(1) of Pakistan’s Constitution.
“Privacy is a fundamental right of Pakistanis, and when a data breach happens, authorities not only imply that people’s basic rights are not respected, they’re also putting these people at the risk of inevitable danger,” says Hija Kamran, Programs Manager at MMfD. She adds, “The kind of data that is being collected and shared is of sensitive nature, and misuse of this information always has serious, potentially life-threatening, consequences.”
“Privacy is a fundamental right of Pakistanis, and when a data breach happens, authorities not only imply that people’s basic rights are not respected, they’re also putting these people at the risk of inevitable danger.”
Hija Kamran – Programs Manager, MMfD
The campaign intends to increase public awareness on issues of data privacy by educating and encouraging conversations in the public domain on data leaks and the impact they have. In addition to this, MMfD is also pushing for protections within the legal framework by engaging with policy makers.
“There are no legal mechanisms to hold responsible the institutions from where data has been leaked. This includes leaks from sensitive government databases such as NADRA, so we want to ensure that there are mechanisms in place to hold both state and private institutions accountable,” says Sadaf Khan, Co-Founder and Director Programs at MMfD. “This is why I have petitioned the senate and sent a letter to the Prime Minister with specific recommendations to help create a system that recognises data privacy and it’s protections as serious concerns and so has mechanisms in place for accountability.”
“We want to ensure that there are mechanisms in place to hold both state and private institutions accountable.”
Sadaf Khan – Co-Founder and Director Programs, MMfD
The recommendations include creating more accountability for government and private organisations that collect data, specifically urging government departments to state their data protection policies on their websites and to create a redressal mechanism when these policies are violated or when citizens have questions about how the data being stored is used.