Govt Allows ISI to Tap Phone calls & other Personal Data – Right Approach?

The government of Pakistan has granted Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) the authority to tap phones and trace communications under Section 54 of the Pakistan Telecommunication Act. In this regard, the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom (MoiTT) has issued a gazette notification to grant special powers to the country’s top intelligence agency.

As per the government, the move is aimed at enhancing national security and crime prevention. The notification allows the ISI to monitor calls, messages, and other forms of communication. An 18th-grade officer will be appointed for the purpose who will be authorized to ask for any personal data from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).

Is it the Right Approach? 

While the new move is aimed at enhancing security, it raises concerns regarding privacy and the potential for abuse of power. If we look at the history of surveillance in Pakistan, there are examples where such powers were misused, leading to violations of citizens’ privacy. Therefore, the government should also implement measures to prevent misuse.

The government should devise effective oversight mechanisms to ensure that the ISI’s new powers are exercised responsibly. Therefore, transparency in the surveillance process, clear guidelines on the use of collected data, and strict accountability measures hold importance. In addition, there should be regular audits and independent reviews by the government to monitor the implementation of these powers.

Also read:

Pakistan Government Imposes 25% Tax on Mobile Phones Worth Over $500

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