As online spaces and essential concepts associated with it evolve, there is a dire need to enact legal instruments that are mindful of the threats that the digital age pose
In the digital age, our dependence on the internet has altered our lifestyles in a fashion that has paved way for devices to become integral components of our day-to-day lives. The fact that our decisions and actions in the real world are to some, or arguably a large extent dependent on these technological advances has raised concerns over our privacy. How many of us read the terms and conditions listed in fine print before gaining access to websites and various online platforms?
Users knowingly or unknowingly agree to pass on critical information to a website assuming that that information will be protected. But what of third parties with which that same data is often shared, at times for a price? The willingness to, or perhaps the naivety with which we share information, considered personal in offline spaces, is far more alarming. The debate around online privacy and data protection essentially revolves around these concerns.
There is also the danger posed by a lack of transparency behind the artificial intelligence algorithms at work. There is very little understanding of how data is being used and how these algorithms are making decisions which directly impact users.
Also read: Understanding algorithms and consent
Experts have raised concerns over how little accountability there is for public and private entities that are storing, and potentially even sharing, users’ data without them being truly aware of the consequences. This is why the debate over consent regarding sharing of information online needs to take this aspect under consideration.
The right to privacy is enshrined in the Constitution. As online spaces and essential concepts associated with it evolve, there is a dire need to enact legal instruments that are mindful of the threats that the digital age pose. These threats are not confined to a geographical location, these go beyond boundaries. Pakistan needs to take into account local and global challenges while formulating laws that provide a protective legal cover to its citizens.