Social media is on the boom in Pakistan and it has made communication and spread of any propaganda super-fast. It has also provided ease of communication for the rural areas and other neglected areas. Unfortunately, it has also brought an increase in the cases of online harassment.
According to a recently published report by the Digital Rights Foundation, a non-profit organization in Pakistan stressed on Digital freedom, has emphasized upon some astonishing statistics about the harassment faced by women online. These statistics indicated a recent trend that has been occurring in the country.
The data was collected from the “Cyber Harassment helpline” for the span of last 2 years, that is from December 2016 to November 2018. Total 2, 781 complaints were received from the toll-free helpline—0800-39393.
The report mentions that an extensive number of complaints were linked to Facebook and WhatsApp. Out of these received complaints, a total of 660 were about the harassment on Facebook while 220 complaints were about WhatsApp.
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As per the report, the main reasons for contacting on to the helpline was majorly blackmailing, abusive use of information, hacking of personal accounts and defamation by the harasser.
A provincial data breakdown of the received calls revealed the call percentages of the respective provinces:
Azad Jammu and Kashmir and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas—1pc
It was surprising to see that the helpline observed a steep increase in the complaints linked to WhatsApp from 2.5pc to 9.5pc in the span of the last 6 months. To be exact, an increase in phishing calls in the last 2 months was the main reason for this sharp increase. Via these calls, the hackers acted as the representatives from credible organizations like government agencies or game shows for compromising on the user’s account.
The report further mentioned that 59pc of the calls were made by the women while 41pc of the calls were made by men. It is interesting to know that out of the 41pc calls made by men, many of them made complains on behalf of women.
These findings revealed that the FIA cyber-crime wings require improvements, while the government has surged the funding for the NR3C a lot of hard work is still needed for halting the exponential growth of cyber-crimes in Pakistan.