Privacy is a right!

Privacy is the first need the man felt after civilization made its way through human minds. People felt the need of covering themselves and create a space that was away from any kind of intrusion or invasion of their privacy. The need for a separate home also emerged from the same desire of having a space of one’s own. As the civilizations developed, this desire took the form of other needs that were also associated with mother privacy. Religions also emphasized its importance and made it clear to their followers how important it was for humans to respect the privacy of the people around them.

Are we really civilized enough to respect someone’s privacy?

Although today we consider ourselves the torchbearers of the highest peak of civilization, at times we also tend to take a back gear. We tend to indulge in many such practices that would have been considered obsolete and unfair even among the cavemen. Recently, the unfortunate incident of the leakage of CCTV footage in the cinema of a famous shopping mall took place. Not only was the video unlawfully extracted from the footage but also circulated over the WhatsApp and social media. This was not only unfair and unethical but also posed serious threat to the couple’s safety considering the strict Pakistani societal norms.

‘Privacy is a right’ campaign gained momentum

While the video was circulated with enough moral policing, there also existed a faction which strongly opposed this breach of privacy. A campaign named ‘Privacy is a right’ was launched by Salman Sufi and Digital Rights Foundation Pakistan.

Know your privacy rights!

However, it is important for all citizens to know what their privacy rights are. Salman Sufi, a human rights and gender activist, has explained these rights in a short and easily comprehensible video. According to him,

  1. No person or institution has the right to use your photos and videos for any purpose without your consent.
  2. If a place is monitored by security cameras, there must be a sign informing the people that the particular area is under camera surveillance for safety and security purposes.
  3. Once you know a place is being monitored, it should be your will to stay or leave.
  4. ANy recording or CCTV footage should be deleted at the end of the day unless there is a security threat.
  5. The staff supervising the CCTV recordings must be trained for it and not allow any unauthorized person to access the private data.
  6. It is illegal to use cameras in changing rooms and washrooms.
  7. If the leakage still happens, the top management shall be accountable.

Privacy is basic human right and it is important for all citizens to know that. While breach pf privacy is illegal in Pakistan, it is still important to have a sound awareness of this sensitive matter. While the civil society has done its part, it is now the responsibility of the concerned organizations and the government not only to formulate effective legislation but also assure its strict implementation in order to avoid any such unfortunate incidents in the future.

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