Islamabad, May 15, 2013: The first hearing of B4A's petition challenging the alleged use of surveillance spyware, FinFisher, in Pakistan took place on Monday, May 13, 2013 before honourable Justice Mansoor Ali Shah at the Lahore High Court. This writ petition was admitted by the Lahore High Court on 8th May 2013. At the first hearing of this petition, the honorable court has ordered the regulatory authority Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) to carry out a complete inquiry into FinFisher allegations and present before the court on June 24, 2013.
PTA is among the four respondents that this petition holds accountable for, with the other three being, 'Federation of Pakistan, through the Ministry of Interior,' 'The Ministry of Information Technology,' and 'Pakistan Telecommunications Company Limited (PTCL).'
This public interest petition has been filed by Bytes for All in an effort to safeguard the privacy rights of citizens of Pakistan. This petition is based on the evidence of FinFisher's existence in the country through a report 'For Their Eyes Only' published by B4A's Partner Citizen Lab, University of Toronto. This report has been circulated widely all over the world and is known to be the most authentic information source on the use of FinFisher all over the world. Privacy International, UK, another partner of Bytes for All has also initiated a similar judicial review petition against FinFisher and its developer company Gamma International.
Please note that FinFisher is notorious for targeting human rights movements all over the world and has advanced spying and surveillance capabilities for invading into the privacy of anyone connected to the Internet or mobile phone. The technology is obnoxious, and can even surreptitiously turn on people's webcams, listen to Skype, and control computers remotely. B4A's petition is meant to register its grave concerns for the havoc it can cause towards citizens' privacy rights.
B4A is also currently contesting a separate lawsuit against the Federation of Pakistan challenging widespread online censorship and the atrocious YouTube ban. The next hearing for this case is fixed for May 16, 2013.