PRIVACY & SURVEILLANCE: Public Preferences in Pakistan


Author: Dr. Akbar Nasir Khan (DIG, PSP, QPM)

ISBN: 978-979-7576-92-0

Price in US$: 10

Publication Year: 2021

Number of Pages: 304


Although, many a people will say that Privacy is not an issue in Pakistani society but in practice they are so much concerned about it that ‘honor killings’ are, basically understood in cultural terms, outcome of the breach of privacy of the family. In this changing world, these concepts of privacy are more easily understood when data is leaked or exposed in public. Privacy is defined narrowly in the constitution of Pakistan. There is need to expand the scope of this concept as it is prevalent in the world. This book is an endeavor to debate on this subject and to elicit how efforts to bring safety in the society may lead to unwanted consequences.

This is my second book in two years which may be considered a sequel to “Safe and Smart Cities of Pakistan” published in September 2020. A considerable part of this book is derived from my research thesis for doctorate of Business Administration from University of Portsmouth, UK which was completed in May, 2020. This research focuses upon public preferences on the trade-offs between surveillance and privacy in public spaces in the context of Pakistan. Mass surveillance in Pakistan has begun from Lahore, the second largest city of the country, by installation of more than 8000 cameras with intelligent features primarily to deal with multiple security and public safety issues. Punjab Safe Cities Authority is a government organization working under Punjab Police responsible for establishment and functioning of Punjab Police integrated command, control and communication centers in Punjab. However, public was not consulted while enforcement of this innovative technology-oriented project in Lahore. It was vision of the Chief Minister of the Punjab in year 2015 and even earlier, which proved true, though. This research has strived to fill this gap in governance of security to explore the public preference of people in two cities, Multan and Rawalpindi, of the Punjab through quantitative research and application of discrete choice stated preferences model.
In this book, after first chapter of introduction, Chapter 2 and 3 give background and literature reviews about two key themes, privacy and surveillance and legal framework around these concepts in national and international perspective. Chapter 4 deals with scope of mass surveillance system in Lahore and explains actual system and how it has potential of affecting the privacy rights of people. Chapter 5 analyses the data protections procedures prepared by the architects of the system and which are being used in the Punjab Safe Cities Authority. Chapter 6 discusses the interaction and application of competing concepts of Privacy and Security in Pakistani context and cultural context of privacy as a right in Pakistan. Rather making a subjective judgement, Chapter 7 explains the processes of eliciting public preferences about privacy and surveillance and methodology of data collection for this research. Chapter 8 is presentation of data collected from cities of Rawalpindi and Multan and how each parameter is conceived by the participants of this research. Chapter 9 is analysis of this data through quantitative techniques and explains the public policy options as a result of public preferences and tradeoff between privacy and surveillance at public places. The book concludes with an assessment of the public preferences and trade off in the light of legal and social environment of Pakistan which can be valid in other settings and a set of recommendations for policy makers who are interested in two important issues of security and/or privacy rights.


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