I Don’t Forward Hate: An online campaign to promote diversity and pluralism in Pakistan

Posted on Jan 27, 2021

Islamabad, (January 27, 2021): Bytes for All (B4A) in association with like-minded civil society organizations has launched an online campaign to push back the menace of hate and incitement to violence, in an effort to support the government of Pakistan’s cause of discouraging hate speech both online and offline and bridge the divisiveness in society.

Hate speech and incitement to violence in Pakistan has been disrupting the peace of our society since decades, initially was limited to offline spaces; however, has polluted the online spaces in current times. In fact, the impacts of hate speech in online spaces are far pervasive than offline with severe real-life consequences, such as violence and terrorism.

The government of Pakistan in its National Action Plan in 2014 expressed its firm resolve to fight the issue of hate speech and abusive behaviors on social...

Inappropriate Twitter trends, Cyber Armies and the Role of Political Parties

Posted on Dec 15, 2020

Islamabad, (15 December, 2020): Bytes for All is shocked to observe the disturbing online trends, targeting women of political families of Pakistan, which have recently circulated over social media. The development of such unbefitting and inappropriate trends, targeting families of political parties, on social media platforms, such as Twitter, have raised serious concerns about blurring boundaries of human rights, where freedom of speech of one overlaps with the human dignity of another.

On Wednesday, 9th December, inappropriate hashtags comprising of abusive language about Maryam Nawaz, vice president of PML-N party and the daughter of former Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif, started trending on Twitter, followed by similar abusive hashtags about Bushra Bibi, wife of PM Imran Khan and the First Lady of Pakistan. These hostile trends, designed to...

The Scope of Privacy Commission in Pakistan: B4A Report

Posted on Oct 21, 2020

Islamabad, (October 21, 2020): An independent and autonomous Privacy Commission – without any political or executive influence – is essential for protection of citizen’s digital data and redressal for the privacy related violations. The constitution of a commission for the safeguarding fundamental rights, including the right to privacy must be in line with the guidelines of the Paris Principles.

Bytes for All (B4A) has released a report regarding the scope of a privacy commission in Pakistan. The report features the cases of different privacy commissions from Asia region, their structures, functioning and powers vested with them. It also analyses whether these models can be replicated in Pakistan for the establishment of a commission for data protection.

The report observed that data controllers and processors of personal data do not invest a lot of money in...

Tools to access TIKTOK in Pakistan

Posted on Oct 12, 2020

Ban on TikTok undemocratic, unacceptable

Posted on Oct 9, 2020

ISLAMABAD, (October 9, 2020): Bytes for All is shocked to receive the news of arbitrary blocking of social media platform TikTok in Pakistan by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on the pretext of vulgarity and indecency. This is an act of brutal censorship that is unacceptable in any democratic society. We strongly condemn this action by PTA, which is going to be detrimental to fundamental rights of the citizens including the right to freedom of expression, access to information, and economic and cultural rights of Pakistani citizens.

TikTok is known to be the most popular social media platform among common people in the country, especially the youth, who use it to express their artistic and political expression making it an alternative space for their aspirations, quality entertainment and creativity.

The platform provides its users...

Faulty CP Rules 2020 a plethora of gaps, inconsistent with law: Legal and technical experts

Posted on Jun 12, 2020

Islamabad, (June 12, 2020): The Citizens Protection (Against Online Harm) Rules 2020 and the process of their notification is flawed as the government has not used the legal procedures as prescribed in the parent law. The centralization of excessive arbitrary powers in the position of National Coordinator is the biggest lacuna and again in contravention of the law; neither the position meets the principles of legality, necessity, proportionality; nor does it fulfill the proposition of legitimacy in a democracy.

Legal experts closely involved in the cases of digital rights; and the representatives of media and civil society raised these reservations at a virtual consultation organized by Bytes for All (B4A), Pakistan on the Citizens Protection (Against Online Harm...

Our response to the proposed Personal Data Protection Bill 2020

Posted on May 15, 2020

Islamabad, (May 15, 2020): Bytes for All, Pakistan (B4A) rejects the proposed draft of the Personal Data Protection Bill 2020 in its current shape, believing that it would serve as a safeguard for the perpetrators of the right to privacy than to safeguard the citizens personal data. However, it is welcoming that the government has shown its willingness to enact this important law.

Bytes for All has grave concerns over the draft bill which is fraught with problematic provisions, highly inconsistent with the constitutional guarantees and the global human rights frameworks. The bill contains ambiguous language in various sections that invokes subjectivity and can be misinterpreted according to the authorities’ demands. The grey areas and ambiguous language in the draft bill suggests that the basic...