Pakistan - Understanding Its Law on Electronic Surveillance and Interception
10 Pages Posted: 2 May 2017 Last revised: 5 Aug 2018
Date Written: April 30, 2017
The Investigation for Fair Trial Act, 2013 (IFTA’13), establishes a compliance regime as to issuance of two kinds of warrants, namely: (1) Warrant of Surveillance, and (2) Warrant of Interception. These warrants (of surveillance or interception) can be issued by a Judge of a High Court, upon request by the select law enforcement agencies that have been identified as ‘applicant’ in IFTA’13.
IFTA’13 is an interesting law, where one can note government’s efforts to balance its need for electronic eavesdropping to ensure state security and suppress terrorism, against its obligation to protect right to privacy and maintain separation of judiciary from executive.
This article provides an introduction of the essential concepts of IFTA’13. For convenient reading the body of this article has been arranged into eight parts as below. The first part provides an introduction to the nature of warrants (of surveillance or interception) contemplated under IFTA’13, the second part surveys the subject matter of IFTA’13, the third part examines the duties of law enforcement agency seeking a warrant, the fourth part identifies the thresholds as to issuance of warrants by a High Court Judge, the fifth part narrates the scheme as to duration, reissuance and reviews of warrants, the sixth part analyses the sufficiency (or the lack) of safeguards in IFTA’13 as to privacy of Pakistan’s citizens, and seventh part highlights the potential risk as to frustration of separation of judiciary doctrine by IFTA’13, and the eight part serves as the conclusion to this article.
Keywords: Civil Liberties, Human Rights, Right to Privacy, Pakistan, Constitutional Law, Cybercrime Law, Information Technology Law
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