Addressing a nation where it is so easy to blackmail and/or harass someone, the Director of FIAs Cyber Crime wing, Asif Iqbal Chaudhry spoke about the importance of online safety and privacy in a video interview recently. It is surprising to see, many people are not aware that such a department actually exists, let alone the rights it grants them. what with the “Log Kya Kaheinge” factor so strongly at play in our society, people need to be educated on what cyber bullying and cyber-crime entails and how it must be dealt with.
Many people believe that when we agree to the terms and conditions* while installing an app (agreeing to let it access our photos and contacts etc.) we are allowing the company, that is running said app, the ability to control our phones and devices. Clarifying the matter for us to understand better, Chaudhry stated that these apps run on a surveillance model, they know what we like, dislike are angered by, are interested in or feel happy or sad about, merely by using the powerful tool of observation. He further explained that some apps are well recognized and belong to trusted companies that adhere to the rules and regulations of privacy for the users’ protection. Such apps are safe to use, however those which do not belong to a trusted source, are likely a potential threat and should not be trusted or allowed access.
Talking about how we can possibly get stuck in a situation where someone has the ammo to harass us with, Chaudhry discussed the ease with which we allow our friends, girl/boyfriends, fiancés or even husbands and wives to make social media accounts for us, and conveniently forget to take access away from them if/when things go sour. The hacker uses these “fallings out” as an opportunity to take control of their social media accounts and eventually either harass and blackmail them with the content of their private conversations or abuse the fact that they have access to someone else’ account and damage their reputation by either posting questionable content or sending people inappropriate messages.
To protect ourselves from such problems, we must make use of the option that most trusted apps provide, of connecting your social media accounts to your sim/phone number. By doing this we ensure that if a third party tries to gain access to our accounts by changing the password, the password change code will be delivered to your phone and until you allow them access to it, they cannot bypass it. As far as picture abuse goes, especially for women in our society, he recommends that they put all their photos and videos on strict privacy so that only a select few people can see them.
The authorities have developed very strict rules and punishments for people engaging in any form of cyber bullying or cyber-crime. So much so, that the sentences that the offenders are bound to, range from 6 months to 14 years, depending on the severity of their crime and the evidence provided. Also, cyber-crime is a NON-BAILABLE offense in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan!
click on the video below to watch the complete video on social media safety and protection, as per Mr. Asif Iqbal Chaudhry, the Director of FIAs Cyber Crime Wing.