Invasion Of Privacy: Outrage Over Leaked Emporium Cinema Recordings
Social media is abuzz with users discussing the recent breach in privacy carried out by Emporium Cinema in Lahore. Recently, videos recorded by cameras inside the cinema’s halls had been doing the rounds on social media which showed couples present inside the cinema engaged in intimate acts.
Social media had erupted in outrage over this violation of privacy. The incident had resulted in a debate, with one side invoking public indecency while the other side called into conversation the right to privacy.
Many were also of the view that there are issues that should receive more attention such as rape and sexual harassment. Others argued the existence of such serious issues does not mean people should not express their thoughts about less severe issues. After all, the right to not have your privacy violated is as important as other fundamental rights.
Public Policy specialist Salman Sufi made a tweet saying that the video recordings of citizens from cinema halls was a violation of law, and demanded that these videos be deleted immediately. He expressed his intention to launch lawsuits against establishment of those theatres whose staff was involved in recording such videos.
Important thread: Just found that video recordings of citizens from cinema halls in #Pakistan have been shared around.This is NOT acceptable and is a violation of law. We demand that all theaters/Public places delete ALL video recordings that have no recorded safety threat ASAP pic.twitter.com/ZeeKpjhTSn
— Salman Sufi (@SalmanSufi7) August 30, 2019
In response, some had argued that privacy was a privilege which you lose when you engage in such acts in public. Others opposed this view, stating that privacy is a right that cannot be ignored in any case. Senator Ayesha Raza took to Twitter in support of the latter view.
#PrivacyIsARight and not a privilege. Thank you @SalmanSufi7 for taking up this very important issue. Let’s help create awareness, demand adherence to respecting citizens privacy and legislate where necessary. https://t.co/Nn4lqjhI3F
— Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq (@AyeshaRaza13) August 31, 2019
Another user was of the view that such an act based in negligence and malice has the potential to destroy so many lives.
Yes, we don't even know how many lives would be destroyed by this act of negligence (and malice) in a society like ours .. this is serious breach of privacy
— Sherry (@CherieDamour_) August 31, 2019
Some have called for punishment for cinema halls that leak such videos, supplementing the argument that this was a blatant violation of privacy.
More than that, Cinemas should be held liable for the leakage of such videos & responsible should be punished.
"No one should ever have access to such videos" (not even security) under any circumstances unless court of justice needs it for a criminal offence!
— Fraz (@NthngMtrs) August 30, 2019
Moreover, the question of whether there exist laws against organizations ‘stocking up’ on such footage.
Are there any laws regarding organizations stocking up on footage that is completely irrelevant? “Safety concerns” are one thing however them storing videos of public (without them knowing) is completely unnecessary and wrong.
— Ezza (@EzzaSyed) August 31, 2019
Human rights lawyer Nighat Dad was of the view that there exists a lack of awareness about such matters and there is no accountability of organisations engaging in such acts. She said that it was due to this that we require data protection laws.
There is absolutely no awareness around right to #privacy among citizens and no accountability around how companies, telecom, public bodies, ISPs etc retain/process/share citizens data. Reason why we Data Protection Law and privacy commission. #PrivacyIsaRight and not privilege. https://t.co/qCuntupDWA
— Nighat Dad (@nighatdad) August 30, 2019
If recording is necessary due to security concerns, there should be a warning for cinema goers to make them aware of the existence of security cameras. Nighat shared a similar view on Twitter.
Also what are the SOPs around CCTV cameras installed inside theatre halls? Are there visible warnings of security cameras being installed inside? There should be a criminal case registered against management of cinema hall which is involved in this heinous breach of #privacy. https://t.co/HHIgsfC3pM
— Nighat Dad (@nighatdad) August 30, 2019
Meanwhile, Salman Sufi announced on Twitter that his efforts had partially bore fruit and the managements of Cinepax and Packages Mall had agreed to put signs about cameras and give access only to the CEO of the IT department.
Breaking: Pleased to announce that right after our campaign for #PrivacyIsARight – @ThePackagesMall & @cinepax_cinema have contacted & agreed to all our requests. They will post clear signs about cameras. Access to recording only with CEO-IT head & recording deletion promptly. https://t.co/BbwWSCzD70 pic.twitter.com/bwwC2JHIas
— Salman Sufi (@SalmanSufi7) August 31, 2019
Salman Sufi’s efforts were appreciated. Academic Nida Kirmani commended his stance against hyper-surveillance.
Great work! Our lives are so hyper-surveilled. We must resist whenever we can. More power to you!
— Nida Kirmani (@nidkirm) August 31, 2019
In an age where we see a proliferation of surveillance, our privacy is increasingly being curtailed. There is a need for people to resist violations of privacy in the name of security.
Naya Daur Media (NDM) is a bi-lingual progressive digital media platform aiming to inform and educate Pakistanis at home and abroad.