Mo­bile users ex­ploited by per­sonal data leaks

Pakistan Observer - - FRONT PAGE - IR­FAN ALIGI

KARACHI—Mar­keters are ex­ploit­ing con­sumers and are spar­ing none as their per­sonal num­bers are al­legedly sold to a large num­ber of com­pa­nies deal­ing with food, res­tau­rants and gen­eral prod­ucts sellers.

The vi­o­la­tion of PTA rules is so ram­pant that from a lay man to a top bureau­crat, from a fa­ther to her daugh­ter are treated alike with ridicu­lous and even of­fen­sive ad­ver­tise­ment.

How­ever, this gross vi­o­la­tion of con­sumers’ per­sonal data is ig­nored by the main stream­line me­dia and the con­sumers’ rights ac­tivists. Nonethe­less, the reg­u­la­tory author­ity, the PTA is also not tak­ing no­tice of this se­ri­ous vi­o­la­tion.

Be­sides the cel­lu­lar com­pa­nies have wreaked havoc on the fam­ily sys­tem in Pak­istan by float­ing tremen­dous night pack­ages es­pe­cially free talk time for users of sim­i­lar cel­lu­lar net­work, the cel­lu­lar com­pa­nies have also al­lowed cer­tain mar­keters to ap­proach the con­sumers through Short Mes­sag­ing Ser­vices (SMS).

In the SMSs, the sender of the mes­sage does not dif­fer­en­ti­ate the sen­si­tiv­ity of gen­der and the age and the mes­sage is re­ceived across the board, which car­ries in­for­ma­tion about sale on lux­ury items, stand-by gen­er­a­tors, BBQ venues, shop­ping at se­lec­tive su­per stores, din­ing at se­lec­tive res­tau­rants and es­pe­cially the Pizza out­lets.

The most wor­ry­ing is that type of SMS that car­ries in­tro­duc­tion of aphro­disi­acs and re­lated items.

All con­sumers of cel­lu­lar phones through par­tic­u­lar SIMs are in ex­treme be­wil­der­ment as where the mar­keters got their cell num­bers from.

The most of­fend­ing na­ture of these SMSs is that a fam­ily of 4, 6 or else equally re­ceive such of­fen­sive mes­sages from the mar­keters and the fa­ther and mother and son and daugh­ter is wor­ried to guess the same SMS is also de­liv­ered to par­ents’ and chil­dren’s cell num­bers.

No­man (name changed) said, “We see such SMSs on our cells reg­u­larly, which we ig­nored but the peon of our of­fice pointed that he has banned use of cell phone in his fam­ily for such of­fen­sive SMSs on her daugh­ter’s cell. We are shocked to feel how ig­no­rant we are as the mar­keters are en­forc­ing adult­hood in our young chil­dren.”

Saima (same changed) said that the com­mis­sioner, the judges and the min­is­ters also get such SMSs but they do not leg­is­late on this se­ri­ous is­sue.

None of them can say the mo­bile phones of their chil­dren do not re­ceive nasty SMSs, but still they are silent.

Maleeha (name changed) said, “Only a lady law­maker raised voice of con­cern in the Pun­jab Assem­bly on phone night pack­ages by but no ac­tion was taken.”

While talk­ing to Pak­istan Ob­server, an em­i­nent hu­man rights ac­tivist and bar­ris­ter at law An­sar Bur­ney said “this is vi­o­la­tion of ba­sic hu­man rights.”

He said the cel­lu­lar com­pa­nies are adding mil­lions in their profit loop by shar­ing the per­sonal data of their cus­tomers with­out giv­ing them due share from the in­come.

He said |the SMSs are be­ing sent to users of cell phones in­dis­crim­i­nately and the age cri­te­rion is ab­so­lutely ig­nored.

The PTA, the gov­ern­ment, the ju­di­ciary, con­sumer’s courts, and the Fed­eral In­ves­ti­ga­tion Agency have to take no­tice of this se­ri­ous hu­man rights vi­o­la­tion.

Bur­ney said that he is go­ing to take up the is­sue with the court con­cerned as pe­ti­tioner.

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