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Coronavirus
VERY HIGH
Pakistan Deaths
18,677
14024hr
Pakistan Cases
850,131
429824hr
Sindh
289,646
Punjab
314,517
Balochistan
23,016
Islamabad
77,414
KPK
122,520

ISLAMABAD: Better legislation needed to safeguard consumer data and privacy, as rise in the use of technology to meet the remote requirements of the pandemic has also raised questions regarding how consumer data is being protected, said a press release.

The matter was brought to light, during a webinar titled ‘Finding the Balance between Innovation and Consumer Protection.’ hosted by Uber’s Ignite series.

Among the speakers on the panel were head of MENAP at Zoom Sam Tayan, MENA Policy Manager at Access Now Marwa Fatafta, Global Head of Privacy & Security Public Policy, Uber Uttara Sivaram, and Bahaa Othman, Head of Information and Compliance at Fawry.

During Covid-19, governments of many countries made use of tracking technology and data-driven tools in an attempt to monitor and control the spread of the virus.

The location data being provided by telecom operators and technology-based companies amounted to a large-scale invasion into the privacy of the customers of these companies.

Marwa Fatafta from Access Now, an organization that highlights and defends the digital rights of users at risk, addressed the lack of data protection laws in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region.

She spoke about how the relevant laws that do exist had been drafted before the rise of the digital era and thus do not address data-specific concerns, such as cyber-attacks and identity thefts.

Marwa noted, “In the present times, with all our lives being conducted online, the need for better laws should have become a priority, but it doesn’t seem to be the case”.

Additionally, there exists a lack of transparency and access to information which limits accountability for the use of technology.

There is no way for consumers to be assured that the data being collected is only for the use of public health professionals, and not as a tool for institutions to forward their own agendas.

Last year also saw a rise in the use of video conferencing applications to accommodate the work-from-home and distant learning requirements.

Sam Tayan discussed how the video-conferencing company Zoom has used security tools, such as end-to-end encryptions in Zoom calls, to protect the users and their conversations.

Uttara Sivaram, Global Head of Privacy and Security Policy, Uber, shared her opinion that although there exists an undisputable need for governments to step up and work on creating better legislation regarding consumer data protection, companies too should consistently be reviewing and updating their privacy policies.—PR

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021