Keep the cellular networks functioning on polling day

Posted on Jul 24, 2018

#KeepItOn, on Election Day

Islamabad, July 24, 2018: Network shutdowns on the polling day and denying citizens access to communications and information infrastructure is a serious violation of fundamental rights that compromise the effort to ensure free, fair, transparent and peaceful election in Pakistan , stated by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Bytes for All and Peace & Justice Network at an urgent press conference in Islamabad.

Over a period of time, human rights defenders have observed with growing concern a pattern that has now become regular for the incumbent governments that handle any law and order...

IYouWe Peace Pledge campaign

Posted on Jul 18, 2018

Islamabad, (July 18, 2018): Historically, elections in Pakistan are marred with violence and violations of elections code of conduct. Forthcoming general elections are no different. We are seeing a steep rise in the elections violence, violations of code of conduct and issues of shrinking civic spaces in the country. To this end, Bytes For All in collaboration with CIVICUS and Innovation for Change is launching an innovative campaign known as #IYouWe Peace Pledge Campaign.

This campaign endeavors:

To promote peace, dignity and respect for all voices in the 2018 Pakistan elections; Not to support people or organisations using hate speech or inciting violence; To abide by the official electoral Code of Conduct ; and To create a more dignified, equal society in which all people are heard regardless of religion, sex, caste, creed, color and profession.

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Prioritize communication rights of people in FATA region

Posted on May 25, 2018

Islamabad, (May 25, 2018): Bytes for All (B4A) warmly welcomes the act of Pakistan’s parliament to merge the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. This landmark constitutional amendment ends the dark age for human rights in FATA as 117 years old draconian Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR) is abolished.

Historically, the citizens of FATA have been denied access to the information and communication technologies (ICTs) in the name of security. While welcoming this constitutional amendment, we urge the state authorities to immediately lift the network shutdowns and restore telecommunication infrastructure to ensure affordable and quality access for the local population.

For any developing country, ICTs have proven to be an effective tool to strengthen democracy, development and social justice. These technologies...

Enough is Enough: 95 civil society organizations call on the Human Rights Council to urgently launch a ‘Commission of Inquiry’ to investigate violence against protesters in Palestine

Posted on May 18, 2018

In light of the recent mass killing of civilians in occupied Palestine, the undersigned 95 organizations call on the UN Human Rights Council to urgently launch an independent investigation into violations of international human rights and humanitarian law by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territory, occurring in the context of the "March of Great Return" and Nakba protests.

There are currently over seven million Palestinian refugees spread across the globe, including 1.3 million refugees in the Gaza Strip. [1] As the result of decades of dispossession, oppression and violations of international law, including 11 years of unlawful closure and blockade of the Gaza Strip, Palestinians therein and elsewhere in occupied Palestine have embarked on a six week campaign of largely peaceful protests, starting on 30...

Careem’s data breach is criminal negligence

Posted on Apr 25, 2018

ISLAMABAD, (April 25, 2018): The massive security breach at the core system of online regional transportation giant, Careem is alarming in the wake of increasing online service delivery, archival of sensitive personal data pertaining to a large number of customers and looming threats to these datasets.

Careem’s callous attitude towards protecting the private data of its customers is criminal and the authorities should hold the company accountable to ensure safeguarding the privacy of its citizens. This is yet another incident that demonstrates the express need and the importance of data protection and data privacy mechanisms in the country. The situation also calls for the urgent mechanism for pro-people data protection frameworks that create enabling online business environment, where corporations and government authorities are accountable and ensure...

End suppression of media, political expression and academic freedoms in the country

Posted on Apr 18, 2018

April 18, 2018, (Islamabad): Bytes for All, Pakistan is extremely concerned over the recent developments pertaining to suppression of free speech through multi-level state interventions. This aggression against media, freedom of speech, expression and civil liberties is contrary to democratic norms and constitutional provisions.

It is very unfortunate that for a long time, censorship has been toed as a solution to any problems in the country. However, the new wave of censorship is widespread and has been impacting different segments of the society including political parties, academia, conventional media, social media and youth movements.

The nation-wide blackout of the country’s leading news and current affairs channel, Geo News is an open attack on free media in Pakistan. Multiple opinion articles by renowned intellectuals in different newspapers have been barred...

Reflections on the Pakistan Ruling Banning Network Shutdowns

Posted on Apr 18, 2018

In late February 2018, in a landmark judgment, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) ruled that shutting down telecom networks was illegal, rejecting the State’s rationale that security considerations made such shutdowns necessary.

Pakistan has a history of network shutdowns during public gatherings and events. The court termed the shutdowns as ‘illegal’ and ‘inconsistent’ with legal provisions.

For some years now, the prevailing practice in Pakistan has been that citing apprehensions of unforeseen security circumstances, including potential terrorist attacks. The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), the country’s telecom regulator, has suspended mobile networks in major cities. In some cases these suspensions have lasted for prolonged durations. The shutdowns are often unannounced.

In 2016, with the help of four citizens, advocate Umer Gillani launched and...