‘Be conscious of surroundings, check for hidden cameras’

AMIDST THE alleged video controversy reported at Chandigarh University, Mohali, activists, police officers, cyber experts and security camera dealers suggested that girls and women should remain conscious when choosing their rooms, be they hostel rooms, paying guests or rental accommodation. They said the markets are being flooded with micro camera devices that are not easy to spot. It takes extra effort to identify or discover these devices. Police officials advised the girls, especially paying guests and rented accommodation, to use devices that can detect hidden cameras installed in walls, cavities or devices.

Surinder Singh, a CCTV dealer in Chandigarh, said: “According to the reports related to the Chandigarh University incident, there are flaws in the structure of the washrooms used by the female students. The accused student took advantage of this (uncovered roofs, small doors). However, it is an alarming incident that suggests vigilance is needed, particularly among women. In fact, there are many micro CCTVs available on the market that are even the size of a cell phone camera. Such devices are a real problem in terms of women’s safety”.

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Harjinder Kaur, Chair of the Chandigarh Commission for Protection of Child Rights (CCPCR), who works in women’s welfare, said: “There are multiple aspects to such incidents. Undoubtedly, the incident raised many concerns about women’s privacy and safety. It is necessary to delve deeply into the situation and the defendants making the videos. In the case of women’s safety in educational institutions, workplaces, etc. There are guidelines set by the Apex Court. I personally believe that students, especially women and girls, should be very careful about their privacy and safety. I believe parents, guardians should communicate with management, homeowners, etc.
They cannot shrug off their responsibilities.”

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DSP Sita Devi, the women’s affairs officer at Chandigarh Police said: “Women should ensure they choose the right families when renting paid accommodation. Secondly, it is important to thoroughly inspect the rooms and washrooms. There are devices available in the market that detect hidden devices like CCTV and spy cameras. These can be rented. If sharing a room, never reveal confidential details if the person is not trustworthy. It is mandatory for a homeowner to register tenants with the local police, women can also go to the police themselves to register their ancestors.”

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Rajesh Rana, a cybersecurity expert, said as soon as you learn of a privacy breach, you should report it to the police or raise an alarm. A student and two men from Himachal were arrested in a controversy surrounding Chandigarh University.

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