Privacy is a right. And having CCTV cameras at public places does not violate the privacy. The cameras are there to protect the citizens and help in an investigation if there is a crime.
The debate started when multiple sexually explicit videos of 2 Pakistani couples in a cinema hall got leaked. The videos have since been circulating on social media. They were even uploaded to YouTube but have now been removed. The videos appear to be recorded on night vision CCTV cameras inside a cinema hall, showing couples in compromising position.
Wa videos show faces of the people in the act. This can put lives at risk too.
Leaked videos are rumored to be from Emporium Cinema Lahore CCTV
Some users claim the videos are from Nishat Emporium Cinema Lahore. But we can not confirm if this is true or not. These are just rumors. Some users believe it’s the DHA cinema. Some suggest it’s Emporium Mall cinema.
Regardless of where it was recorded, the issue is that the recorded footage of two Pakistan couples, who appear to be performing oral sex, was leaked on social media. It can not be confirmed where the video was recorded.
Universal Cinemas in Emporium Mall Lahore is the largest cinema in Pakistan. It would surely have strict privacy laws in place to protect customer privacy and security. Having a CCTV camera is also a security measure. Provided, a clear notice is shown, informing the public that the cameras are in place.
The video leak has sparked a debate on social media about citizens privacy. The campaign is lead by Salman Sufi, who has previously worked with Government of Punjab on projects like Women on Wheels. The public policy and development specialist started the campaign alongside Nighat Dad of Digital Rights Foundation Pakistan.
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
The campaign is not aimed at removing CCTV cameras. It is to notify the citizens and allow them to not have their recordings saved, as per the law. The campaign is having some impact already. Salman Sufi announced that several of cinemas have agreed to:
- Post clear signs about presence of CCTV cameras
- Only the CEO and Head of IT of the facility (cinema in this case) will have access to the video
- Recordings will be deleted promptly
In addition to that, the Cinepax Ltd has gone on to issue a statement.
Cinepax Ltd CEO issues a statement
In what looks like a move to restore customers confidence, Cinepax Ltd. CEO Mariam El Bacha issued a statement, vowing to work with community to ensure that the “CCTV recording policies are in check”. The statement also throws light on why they record and how long do they keep the recordings, and for what purpose. Per the statement:
- All our cinemas are recorded to ensure the safety of our customers. We will communicate with appropriate signage in our locations that our premises are being recorded.
- That the access of the CCTV is restricted to top management of the company.
- That we never record private areas like bathrooms, or staff changing rooms.
- That we save recordings for 15 days as our own company policy for audit inspections and customer lost and found items.
- We also have our crew in place inside the cinema checking if customers are recording movies on the phone, and behaving wrongly.
Universal Cinemas Nishat Emporium Mall have not issued any statement as of now. However, considering the way the campaign is picking up, we expect other cinemas to comply with these very logical and reasonable requests.
Some activists plan to file lawsuit to investigate the video leak. We’ll have to see how that pans out in days to come.