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Pakistani Leaked Videos Bring Privacy Law Into Focus

The FIA ​​does not act against gross violations of citizens’ privacy by intimate Pakistani leaked Videos

LAHORE: Recent CCTV footage of couples engaged in intimate acts in a cinema hall and in a private room of a hospital, allegedly leaked on social media by staff of both facilities, has raised concerns about citizens’ privacy and brought the ineffectiveness of state institutions in protecting people’s rights into the spotlight.

While the public was quick to question the morality of the actions once the videos went viral, one factor that remains unresolved is the gross violation of citizens’ privacy.

Under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016, an offender can be jailed for five years for violating a person’s privacy with or without a fine of Rs 10 lakh. The law specifically states that anyone who facilitates the production and distribution of material that violates one’s privacy will be punished with imprisonment for six months with or without a fine of Rs 50,000.

Speaking to Pakistan Today, Khurram Chughtai, an expert on privacy laws, said that this is a very alarming situation as it is a gross attack on citizens’ privacy.

“I am appalled by the disgraceful actions of the hospital staff and cinema management who leaked the video on social media,” he added.

Saiqa Javed, an expert in criminal law, said the state must ensure the privacy of citizens. She cited the example of a recent First Information Report (FIR) filed by a judge over a video on the legal fraternity that also contained objectionable content. She said the law should hold violators accountable so that justice can be served.

Advocate Aftab Bajwa said that under the Electronic Crimes Act, if someone displays or transmits “immoral content” through electronic devices, he can be jailed for five years. He said the scope of this law also extends to those who show the Pakistani leaked videos at press conferences.

“Maryam Nawaz played the video of Justice Arshad Malik in her press conference,” he added.

Advocate Ali Zafar shared a similar opinion. He said those who leaked the videos to social media could be prosecuted under the Electronic Crimes Prevention Act 2016. However, he added that there was no specific law to protect the privacy of employees at their workplace.

When contacted, FIA Lahore Cybercrime Wing Assistant Director Munam Chaudhry said the Pakistani leaked videos were in clear violation of privacy laws. He said stern action would be taken against the violators if the victims were identified or if they submitted any application to the authority. “The authority can take action against the culprits on its own,” he added.

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