A lawyer by profession, Nighat Dad, has gained global recognition for her remarkable contribution in making the internet a safer and more inclusive space for women.
Dad, who was born in Lahore in 1981, has a Master’s degree in Law from the University of Punjab. She went on to become a prominent criminal and family law attorney.
Dad founded the Digital Rights Foundation in 2012. (DRF). DRF’s mission is to make the internet a safer and more accessible place for women, minorities, and dissidents by protecting their right to privacy and online freedom of speech. As the organization’s executive director, Dad tries to establish a safe environment for women to express themselves without fear of abuse or internet trolls. The DRF also protects women against sexual harassment at work and online.
Dad feels that enforcing strict privacy regulations is the key to making the internet a more secure environment. She works with the DRF to raise awareness about internet privacy problems by studying and tracking surveillance practices.
The Digital Rights Foundation also offers the government practical remedies to problems that are widespread and persistent, such as the lack of legal protection for privacy and the country’s poor censorship laws.
DRF started a campaign called ‘Hamara Internet campaign’ in 2016 to raise awareness against online abuse. Approximately 2,000 women have been taught to combat cyber harassment as a result of this initiative.
Dad was included in TIME magazine’s list of “next-generation leaders” in 2015 for his work in assisting Pakistani women battle online abuse. Her powerful work earned her the ‘Human Rights Tulip Award’ from the Dutch government. She is also one of the top 25 people in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) field.
As a result of her father’s work, she has been appointed to Facebook’s content review board, giving her more power in the battle against online abuse.
Nighat Dad is known for being the Pakistani lawyer who trolls the trolls. Her work’s significance is best summed up in her own words:
“When it comes to the digital world, what women do is retreat. They simply shut down their online presence rather than fight back. Because women do not believe they own online spaces, exiting them becomes far too easy — and that is what the campaign is fighting against.”