Lahore Safe City Project: Eight thousand cameras were installed at 1700 parts of the city and was inaugurated by the Chief Minister of Punjab.
The aim of the program was said to improve safety conditions within the city and included pictures of criminals and notorious individuals which would immediately alert the authorities once picked up by the surveillance cameras placed at various points in the city.
However, it was reported that various images were leaked onto social media which claimed to be from the alleged “Safety Cameras”. It is unknown which city they are from. The images explicitly show the faces of the individuals and the number plates of their cars.
What makes matters worse is that pages claim that the images were leaked by a government official, as a regular citizen would not have access to government cameras.
What’s more important: Privacy or Moral Policing?
So here’s what some of the people on social media find disturbing:
- The attire worn by the women in the images (because, in Pakistan, women aren’t supposed to be wearing jeans and a t-shirt, obviously.)
- The fact that people can be affectionate towards each other (3 feet distance, please).
Here’s what people should actually be concerned about:
- The fact that this is a huge breach of privacy.
- The misuse of government systems.
- The rights of the individuals whose faces and personal lives are on display for the public.
People are beginning to question whether government officials are misusing the images for their own personal gain, to perhaps blackmail people, as a result of corruption.
Social media activists, such as Nighat Dad, have been highlighting the need and implementation for stricter data protection policies in cohesion with the installation of such high-tech systems.
Something we have been pushing for a long time. Safe or smart cities require comprehensive data protection policies following International best standards. #DataProtection #PrivacyPolicy https://t.co/PLFKp2iCru
— Nighat Dad (@nighatdad) January 20, 2019
Are these systems put in place for the security and protection of the people or perhaps to highlight how people are straying away from leading “morally acceptable” lifestyles?