LIMS: Pakistan Court Halts Mass Surveillance Program

Islamabad High Court Finds LIMS System Unlawful

Pakistan’s Islamabad High Court (IHC) has put a stop to a large-scale surveillance program called the Lawful Intercept Management System (LIMS). The court ruled that LIMS was installed without proper legal authority and allowed government agencies to access the private information of millions of citizens.

Millions Potentially Affected

The PTA, Pakistan’s telecom authority, had ordered telecom companies to install LIMS and monitor data from 2% of their customers. This translates to over 4 million people potentially having their calls, texts, internet browsing history, and even audio and video content monitored.

Court Calls Out Lack of Oversight

The IHC judges found the program deeply concerning, particularly because it lacked any judicial or executive oversight. This means there were no checks and balances in place to ensure the system wasn’t abused. The court likened this lack of oversight to the dystopian world of George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Next Steps

The IHC has barred telecom companies from allowing LIMS access to their networks. The court has also demanded a detailed report from the PTA on how LIMS was acquired, installed, and used. The case is adjourned until September, with further action expected against the PTA for misleading the public about LIMS.

This decision by the IHC is a significant victory for privacy rights in Pakistan. It sends a strong message that the government cannot engage in mass surveillance without proper legal justification and oversight. The case is sure to be closely watched as it unfolds in the coming months.

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Nayab Khan

Nayab Khan is a freelance tech-writer whose specialty is absorbing the key data and articulating the most important points. She helps IT based organizations communicate their message clearly across multiple channels.

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