Reports that the hacker group ShadowBrokers had released a tranche of files detailing the extent to which the United States’ National Security Agency (NSA) had infiltrated inside the Pakistan’s telecommunication networks had been emerging in the news over the past week, but their lack of credibility meant they stayed out of mainstream media debates. On Monday however, the infamous whistleblower website, Wikileaks, in a tweet, lends credence to the reports by sharing the leaked documents themselves. It may still be independently uncorroborated, but considering the nature of leaked information it is unlikely there ever will be any corroboration. These reports need to be taken on face value and taken seriously.

It is now new information that the NSA regularly intercepts communications in Pakistan. In August last year reports emerged that the spy agency had found ways to listen in on civil-military communications. Neither are its reported capabilities to be doubted. Another release by Wikileaks earlier this year detailing how the agency uses smartphones and smart TV sets to listen in on United States citizens caused uproar in the United States, and the crucial element here is that the agency didn’t deny any of it.

What is crucial from Pakistan’s perspective is how the uproar is missing. The information that the vast majority of Pakistani phone user’s conversations are not safe has not caused any protest among government circles, neither does it seem to concern the public overmuch. Perhaps in comparison to the United States, the Pakistani public seems to have accepted the idea that their privacy is fundamentally compromised – if not the NSA the domestic spy agencies surely must be listening.

The public’s indifference, however, must not be reflected in the government. Both are essentially breaches of privacy; intercepts of government officials and military personal should concern the government just as much as the intercepts of the common citizen. Just because the public does not raise hue and cry does not mean this problem is not a serious one. The government must ensure that the encryption methods used by the telecommunication industry – private and public – are updated and always evolving to meet newer threats. This effort needs to be top-down and homogenised.

Newer Internet based services like WhatsApp already used advanced encryption methods while communicating, it shouldn’t be difficult for the government to ensure that some form of protection is afforded to its citizens from international snooping.