Fundamental Scope of the Right to Privacy in Pakistan – Need for a New Data Protection Law
6 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2016 Last revised: 28 Dec 2016
Date Written: November 8, 2016
The statute books in Pakistan have not properly defined the right to privacy, and it is only the Constitution that has asserted importance of right to privacy by declaring a universal guarantee for the same, and has coupled it with the concept of human dignity.
Therefore, in any discussion about the right to privacy in Pakistan, one must refer to Article 14 of its Constitution, which mandates that the dignity of man and (subject to law) the privacy of the home, shall be inviolable.
Pakistan’s Courts did not have any statutory guidance as to the scope for a right to privacy and its varieties, therefore, Pakistan's Courts have attempted to define and explain such scope by relying on the Islamic Shariah law.
The select international standards, that Pakistan has committed to, impress upon providing minimal assurances as to the protection of bodily privacy, territorial privacy, and privacy of communications.
Pakistan’s Courts have not been able to lay down any scope for the right of one’s information privacy (which involves the establishment of rules governing the collection and handling of personal data such as credit information and medical records).
The author urges that there should be legislation in place to preempt breach of one’s information privacy (or unauthorized use of a Pakistani citizen’s personal data). The new data protection law will fill significant gaps…that are relevant to public interest, business interest, and government interest!
Keywords: Civil Liberties, Human Rights, Right to Privacy, Data Protection Law, Pakistan
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