Back in 2015, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government introduced an Android application ‘Citizen’s Portal’ with a focus on establishing responsive governance in the province.
Citizens were allowed to register their complaints about multiple sectors of service delivery through the app. The app could then forward these complaints to the concerned Deputy Commissioner for appropriate action.
The application allowed the government to communication directly with the citizens and with over 50,000 downloads as of this moment, it proved to be a success.
However, the same application is now being pushed away from the people because of concerns that it might be putting their personal information at risk. One such experience was faced by a citizen of KPK recently.
A resident of KPK Mr. Rahman Ullah lodged a complaint against another individual through the Citizen Portal application, mentioning that the latter was involved in carrying out illegal charged parking in his vicinity. Rahman claimed that the accused was charging people for parking vehicles in a particular area, also going on to damage vehicles in case of non-compliance.
The complaint was lodged back in February but he was informed only now in Ramzan that the complaint has been forwarded to the relevant police department via the Home and Tribal Affairs Department.
Little did Rahman know that the same person he lodged the complaint against would end up outside his home, threatening him. Turns out that once the police got to know about the report, the accused got informed about it as well due to leaks in the police department. Rahman’s personal details such as home address were also leaked in the same way.
The offender threatened Rahman with dire consequences and told him to withdraw the complaint. Rahman ended up reaching a compromise with the person he accused at a police station.
Adil Raza, a deputy coordinator at the Performance Management and Reforms Unit (PMRU) claimed that there’s no such system that would share personal details of the complainants with the public.
Raza also said that initially when the app was launched, all data was kept confidential. However, different government departments started requesting access to the data of the complainants claiming that the departments were facing problems in locating the areas that were mentioned by complainants and therefore wanted names, mobile numbers etc from the original report.
Soon after this step was taken, reports about misuse of data started coming in.
Recent reports state that the access to the Citizen Portal has been restricted to the Police and the deputy commissioner’s office in a bid to curb the leak of personal information.
Note: Name of the complainant has been replaced for privacy reasons.
via Express Tribune
Update: The title of the post has been changed.