189 per cent increase in cyber complaints in Pakistan during COVID-19 lockdown

Digital Rights Foundation (DRF), in its report, has revealed that it has recorded a whopping 189 per cent increase in cyber harassment complaints during COVID-19 lockdown.

According to the data collected by Digital Rights Foundation (DRF) – an NGO that works for the preservation of internet rights and protection from its immoral and illegal use and cyber harassment; it has been revealed that the organization’s cyber harassment helpline has experienced an exponential surge in complaints.

DRF’s cyber harassment help line reported a 189 per cent increase in harassment complaints between March and April, as compared to January and February this year. During March and April around 74 per cent of complainants were women, 19 per cent were men, whereas 5 per cent reported cases/complaints were registered by people who identified themselves as non-binary individuals.

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Furthermore, the report labelled ‘COVID-19 and Cyber Harassment’ revealed that women complainants who approached the organization to report such malicious activities, said that they were being subjected to sexual harassment, surveillance, manipulation of person.al details, blackmailing, leaking of private information and various other forms of heinous behaviors.

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In addition to it, the report also presented it recommendations to effectively deal with such crimes. It urged the government to develop and establish a common platform to address the issue of cyber harassment and various other cybercrimes.

The organization, in its report, has also urged the government to ensure the provision of essential legislation to protect the identity of the cybercrime victims, with the addition of effective and guidelines, SOPs and administrative rules and regulations for prosecution, judiciary, law enforcement agencies and other relevant stakeholders to ensure high rate of indictments which, in-return will prove to be a deterrent against such crimes.

Moreover, the report also highlighted the significance of establishing a national ‘hotline’ for cybercrimes complaints that will automatically connect the victims with every relevant authority and government institution for legal assistance and guidance.

DRF’s Cyber Harassment Helpline commits itself to the highest standards of privacy, data protection, confidentiality and the rights of the victim. Organization’s cyber harassment can be reached at 0800-39393, whereas its policy can be reviewed here.