"Stalking is immoral but not illegal": Understanding Security, Cyber Crimes and Threats in Pakistan


Afaq Ashraf and - Taha, Lahore University of Management Sciences; Nida ul Habib Bajwa and Cornelius J. König, Universität des Saarlandes; Mobin Javed and Maryam Mustafa, Lahore University of Management Sciences

IAPP SOUPS Privacy Award


We explore the experiences, understandings, and perceptions of cyber-threats and crimes amongst young adults in Pakistan, focusing on their mechanisms for protecting themselves, for reporting cyber threats and for managing their digital identities. Relying on data from a qualitative study with 34 participants in combination with a repertory grid analysis with 18 participants, we map users mental models and constructs of cyber crimes and threats, their understanding of digital vulnerabilities, their own personal boundaries and their moral compasses on what constitutes an invasion of privacy of other users in a country where there is little legal legislation governing cyberspace and cyber crimes. Our findings highlight the importance of platform adaptation to accommodate the unique context of countries with limited legal mandates and reporting outlets, the ways in which digital vulnerabilities impact diverse populations, and how security and privacy design can be more inclusive.

Open Access Media

USENIX is committed to Open Access to the research presented at our events. Papers and proceedings are freely available to everyone once the event begins. Any video, audio, and/or slides that are posted after the event are also free and open to everyone. Support USENIX and our commitment to Open Access.

@inproceedings {289518,
author = {Afaq Ashraf and - Taha and Nida ul Habib Bajwa and Cornelius J. K{\"o}nig and Mobin Javed and Maryam Mustafa},
title = {"Stalking is immoral but not illegal": Understanding Security, Cyber Crimes and Threats in Pakistan},
booktitle = {Nineteenth Symposium on Usable Privacy and Security (SOUPS 2023)},
year = {2023},
isbn = {978-1-939133-36-6},
address = {Anaheim, CA},
pages = {37--56},
url = {https://www.usenix.org/conference/soups2023/presentation/ashraf},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = aug

Presentation Video