Mobile users exploited by personal data leaks

Irfan Aligi

Karachi—Marketers are exploiting consumers and are sparing none as their personal numbers are allegedly sold to a large number of companies dealing with food, restaurants and general products sellers.
The violation of PTA rules is so rampant that from a lay man to a top bureaucrat, from a father to her daughter are treated alike with ridiculous and even offensive advertisement.
However, this gross violation of consumers’ personal data is ignored by the main streamline media and the consumers’ rights activists. Nonetheless, the regulatory authority, the PTA is also not taking notice of this serious violation.
Besides the cellular companies have wreaked havoc on the family system in Pakistan by floating tremendous night packages especially free talk time for users of similar cellular network, the cellular companies have also allowed certain marketers to approach the consumers through Short Messaging Services (SMS).
In the SMSs, the sender of the message does not differentiate the sensitivity of gender and the age and the message is received across the board, which carries information about sale on luxury items, stand-by generators, BBQ venues, shopping at selective super stores, dining at selective restaurants and especially the Pizza outlets.
The most worrying is that type of SMS that carries introduction of aphrodisiacs and related items.
All consumers of cellular phones through particular SIMs are in extreme bewilderment as where the marketers got their cell numbers from.
The most offending nature of these SMSs is that a family of 4, 6 or else equally receive such offensive messages from the marketers and the father and mother and son and daughter is worried to guess the same SMS is also delivered to parents’ and children’s cell numbers.
Noman (name changed) said, “We see such SMSs on our cells regularly, which we ignored but the peon of our office pointed that he has banned use of cell phone in his family for such offensive SMSs on her daughter’s cell. We are shocked to feel how ignorant we are as the marketers are enforcing adulthood in our young children.”
Saima (same changed) said that the commissioner, the judges and the ministers also get such SMSs but they do not legislate on this serious issue.
None of them can say the mobile phones of their children do not receive nasty SMSs, but still they are silent.
Maleeha (name changed) said, “Only a lady lawmaker raised voice of concern in the Punjab Assembly on phone night packages by but no action was taken.”
While talking to Pakistan Observer, an eminent human rights activist and barrister at law Ansar Burney said “this is violation of basic human rights.”
He said the cellular companies are adding millions in their profit loop by sharing the personal data of their customers without giving them due share from the income.
He said |the SMSs are being sent to users of cell phones indiscriminately and the age criterion is absolutely ignored.
The PTA, the government, the judiciary, consumer’s courts, and the Federal Investigation Agency have to take notice of this serious human rights violation.
Burney said that he is going to take up the issue with the court concerned as petitioner.

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