Pakistan is among the world’s top 10 countries where internet freedom has been on the decline and raised apprehensions over the guidelines suggested by the country that could result in the damage of cyber liberty.
As per the report presented by the Washington-based Freedom House, an international freedom support group and research organization, Pakistan has been ranked seventh among “abusers of internet freedom” across the different countries of the world.
The advocacy group weighed different parameters regarding internet freedom and these bases led to its ranking. Deliberating data independence as a reason for the investigation, it quoted instances of different countries and underlined the situation in Pakistan where the government has newly announced new rules and regulations for internet users and service providers.
“In some cases, such data localization requirements have been introduced in the context of content regulation,” said the report. “Pakistan’s proposed Removal and Blocking of Unlawful Online Content (Procedure, Oversight, and Safeguards) Rules, the latest version of which was published in November 2020, outline requirements for social media companies to establish one or more data servers in the country.”
Moreover, the report criticized the proposed regulation in the country that may result in a negative impact on social media companies and also the users. “Pakistan’s proposed rules have raised alarms about their impact on end-to-end encryption. The draft requires social media companies and service providers with more than 500,000 users to hand over personal data in a decrypted and readable format when requested by the Federal Investigation Agency,” it added.
The reports further said, “With a few positive exceptions, the push to regulate the tech industry, which stems in some cases from genuine problems like online harassment and manipulative market practices, is being exploited to subdue free expression and gain greater access to private data.”
However, the conclusions suggest that Pakistan is not the only country in which internet freedom is facing a severe challenge around the globe.