Concerns Shown Over Eric Schmidt’s Statement On Google’s Surveillance in Pakistan

gilani-erics-chmidt-googleBytes for All, a human rights organization with a focus on Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), has shown serious concerns over Google’s possible support to Pakistani government for surveillance of Pakistani citizens.

As we reported earlier, during his visit to Pakistan last week, Eric Schmidt, Google’s Executive Chairman and Ex-CEO, was asked by Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, former Prime Minister of Pakistan, to help Pakistan in tracking cross-border movement across the Durand line.

Bytes for All, while quoting news reports, said that Mr. Gilani asked the Google Chairman to help use technology to “compile electronic data of cross-border movement between Pakistan and Afghanistan, which would in turn help tracking down terrorists” and Eric responded by saying that “building up and maintaining of databases through use of information technology was crucial to deal with security issues as well as law and order situation”.

Shahzad Ahmed, the country coordinator for Bytes for All, told ProPakistani that his organization is alarmed by the impression that Eric’s visit to Pakistan appears to be linked to Google providing support to the Pakistani Government to increase surveillance of its citizens.

He said that Pakistan is already notorious for the extent to which it violates citizen’s privacy without due process. That a company like Google, renowned for its support for internet freedom, could be complicit in such violations of rights is very disturbing.

Shahzad demanded Google to clarify its position on its possible support to Pakistan for monitoring Pakistani citizens who use Google services.

Google earlier decided to remain quite over Eric Schmidt’s visit to Pakistan, in fact his whole visit was kept hidden from media for incomprehensible reasons.

Analysts opine that Google’s chairman’s visit to Pakistan and his meetings with political leadership could have made more sense if outcome of these meetings had made their way to headlines, especially that we live in a democratic environment and Google is a publicly listed company.

Tech reporter with over 10 years of experience, founder of ProPakistani.PK

  • Nanna Rahi

    Gol mal hai bai sab gol maal hai

    • Riaz


  • Rameez Kakakhel

    And Google’s links with the NSA & the US government… am getting more and more suspicious about this Company.

  • Immi

    “Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, former Prime Minister of Pakistan” – Coolest part of article

    • Pakistan Classified Ads

      hahahaa, yes the coolest part of the article.

  • zain

    start using bing

  • Baaghi

    Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani…………

    former …………… CRIME Minister of Pakistan


  • It is disturbing enough that Google has visited our government in secrecy, NOTHING good could possibly come out of it.

    It is even more disturbing that most of the people above find it “funny” and amusing somehow and still stuck on the word “former PM”. Stupid people of Pakistan, crack the jokes until they come crack your children’s skulls with drones.

    Google Maps press conference a while back revealed that in the entire Google Maps world, the ONLY country that is FULLY put on map by the locals is Pakistan. They say “The amount of details and how it grew in the past couple of years is astonishing”. We ourselves have given Google our streets, hour homes, our work areas, everything…

    They’ve used Google Maps in Iraq, they are using it in Afghanistan and they will be using it in Pakistan. And NO ONE is going to be able to held them responsible because WE GAVE OUR DATA TO THEM! The proud “Map Makers”.

    Lets just forget about all this nonsense written above… FORMER PM HA HA HA!!!!

    • While you may not be able to provide any evidence or authenticated reference for civilian maps being used at army level, here is how Pakistan Army used these civilian maps for your people goodwill and to save the lives.

      And by the way, Pakistan is not only country being mapped. Over 100 of countries are there and that includes the US and most European countries. Here is the list of countries being mapped.

    • Shahid Saleem

      — It is disturbing enough that Google has visited our government in secrecy

      How can it be in secrecy when all the news media knew about it?

      — We ourselves have given Google our streets, hour homes, our work areas, everything…

      What you fail to understand is that we put them there because we do not have any maps of our own. Where is our government??? They are the ones who should have provided and built maps. Instead, we did what we could because we need the information.

      • Just to make your point clear, we do have maps. If you go to SOP office in Rawalpindi — you will find store rooms full of excellent maps. The main reasons are that they are not available for everyone publicly where they should be. Second there is no digital version of those maps because there are no resources for such an activity. Long story short, so why not make a good use of free and available resource for betterment of country!

        • Shahid Saleem

          I think we are actually agreeing with each other but on different viewpoints. You say there are maps, okay. But if I (who live in Lahore) have to travel all the way to RWP to see them, then for practical purposes there are no maps.

          For years I have seen people on traffic intersections selling maps of Lahore. Big maps of the overall city, not small detailed maps. Those big maps were easily available at least over the past 10-20 years. But they are effectively useless because they cannot tell you how to drive from Defence sector H to Mozung (for example).

          Google maps fills a need. An obvious need which no one local bothered to provide.

  • The problem with most “rights” associations in this country is just too complicated. The headline of the “concerns” was actually the “request by PM” to help out in surveillance on border but keeping the tradition, bytesforall could make only byte for their personal agenda based on personal understanding.

    It will be funny if people at bytesforall also have security guards or cctv for surveillance at offices and homes.

  • Asad

    How about ask google to blur out military, nuclear and other sensitive installations in the country.

    • Shahid Saleem

      Which they will gladly do if asked. Other countires, smaller than Pakistan, ask for it and get it from Google. So why not we?

      In fact we don’t even have to tell Google WHY we want some site blurred out.