Stories about privacy

If PTI believes in democracy, asset declaration of public servants should be public knowledge

As per a report of Transparency International, it can be said without the risk of contradiction that the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, unfortunately, does not enjoy a desirable position on the global list of countries in regards to corruption perceptions. For the year 2017, its survey shows that Pakistan ranks at 117 out of 180 countries. The present government of Pakistan has a greater responsibility to address this menace, especially since they have risen to power because they held the previous government accountable for their real or perceived corruption. But so far, they have not initiated anything in this regard. In my opinion, one ...

Read Full Post

“It’s raining”: Do Pakistanis know how to use Facebook?

“You know what? You can travel to any place in the world without updating your status on Facebook!” “What’s the point of sharing your pictures on social media? What do you want to prove?” “What are people supposed to do with what you are having for dinner at XYZ restaurant?” To start off, I am not a big fan of changing my display picture every week or putting my selfies on social media; it doesn’t interest me. I never share where, what and with whom I am eating. I have never posted about how many pounds I lost or gained in the ...

Read Full Post

Will Facebook’s dating app be a dream come true for all the “fraandship” boys out there?

I have a new obsession; looking at memes on Instagram. Especially all the memes that spun out of nowhere after the Cambridge Analytica scandal are bound to make you smirk and think at the same time. Due to personal reasons, I had deliberately deleted my Facebook profile last year in October. I shared this profile with my husband for at least nine years, but he hardly used it and in the last three years, I wasn’t actively using Facebook either. So before all hell broke loose for Mark Zuckerberg, I had already decided that Facebook was probably too public, and it ...

Read Full Post

Indians need to stop living with their parents

Ever wondered why small town bumpkins in India are smarter than their big city counterparts? (Oh yes, they are). It’s because unlike the Indian city dwellers that shack up with their parents late into their 20s – some into their 30s and some even after marriage – the small towners come to the cities to strike it out on their own. They live alone, struggle, scour, scrounge and “find” themselves, if you like, in the process. As a contrast, the over-parented, mollycoddled city youngsters show themselves up as emotional waifs and exhibit symptoms including high-brow prudery, crabby uptightness, and sundry social attitudes unique to big ...

Read Full Post

How far is the state willing to go to police the internet in Pakistan?

It is unfortunate that every time activists engage the government in a discussion regarding the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill (PECB), with the aim of protecting civil liberties in cyberspace, the government in turn makes the law more complex and open to multiple interpretations. In recent days, an extensive round of deliberation was carried out with the senate’s standing committee and sub-committee on information technology. This time, digital rights organisations somehow managed to push legislators through, with the help of a few sane voices, in the senate for removing and/or improving the sections contravening the essence of democracy vis-à-vis civil liberties. Pakistan has ...

Read Full Post

Aligarh: Gay love in the time of Bollywood

All right, I am holding my hands up and I admit I was a homophobe back in the day. Like any typical Pakistani youngster, a lot of my cussing and swearing involved slurs against the gay community. Even the word ‘gay’ itself turns pejorative since it’s used with a derisive attitude in our society and considered as a general term of disparagement amongst Pakistani youth and ashamedly, I was no different. But for me personally, my days as a typical homophobic youngster changed for good when I happened to stumble upon Brokeback Mountain (2005). I am not a big fan of movies ...

Read Full Post

Celebrity photo leaks: Drop the drama, everyone loves a story!

The ‘nude celebrities’ pictures’ leak last week on the internet’s various social media sites has created an unwarranted, but nevertheless expected, level of hoopla. The truth is, in this day and age, any educated and avid internet user, with a plethora of passwords for a multitude of accounts and, who watches thrillers is well aware of the universal do-no-gooders called hackers, trolls, and cyberpunks. If the CIA can subject governments of entire countries to hacking, spying, and needlessly-putting-your-nose-where-it-definitely-does-not-belong, then you’d have the common sense to realise that once you put your images, messages, trivial and/or important personal information into any ...

Read Full Post

Facebook Messenger app: “We know what you did last night…”

We live in an increasingly digital world and depend on our smartphones as a daily driver for staying informed, keeping in touch with our family and friends, and also for many other wide ranging applications. Facebook is a large part of our daily lives; while it helps us stay connected socially, there might be something more up its sleeves than we would have thought. Recently, it has been discovered that the seemingly ubiquitous and unassuming Facebook Messenger app for mobile phones is more than it has previously let on. This application has been downloaded well over one billion times on Android and iPhone respective mobile platforms by ...

Read Full Post

“OMG, is #ImranKhan getting married?”

Those alluring eyes and that almost shy, sheepish smile; a self-assured gait of a true sportsman; a naive idealism that one can disagree with but is charming nonetheless. Add to it that tinge of genuine humanity and a good heart that the world has seen in his philanthropy and an overall drop-dead gorgeous personality despite the wrinkles that give away his age. Imran Khan Niazi, even at age 60 plus and a divorce later, is considered one of the most eligible bachelors alive. May be that is why the news that he is under pressure from his family to remarry made front ...

Read Full Post

Are you a Facebook lab rat?

If Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest in the world, leaving behind China’s 1.34 billion people and India’s population of 1.2 billion. Their user base has increased from 1 million in 2004 to 1.23 billion today. In 2012, Facebook tampered and manipulated the newsfeed of about 700,000 of its users for one week. It placed posts into user news feeds to study how this affected their mood, removing either all of the positive posts or all of the negative ones. Scientists working for the social network conducted this study for a week in January 2012 to see if interfering with posts the users ...

Read Full Post