Set guidelines on dos and don'ts of CCTV use

None of the 53 CCTV cameras at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital was in use when a baby was stolen on August 21. The High Court expresses utter dismay over the stealing of newborn babies and orders a judicial inquiry into the "entire incident."

There are no "ifs" or "buts" about it: Intruding into a maid's privacy should not be condoned, no matter what the reason ("Do 'maid cameras' cross the line?"; Sunday).

The Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware), the Singapore Council of Women's Organisations and the Association of Employment Agencies (Singapore) should work together and issue guidelines to maid agencies to warn employers against intruding on their maids' privacy.

Maid agencies' contracts with employers must include the dos and don'ts of mounting closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras in employers' homes.

CCTV cameras are regarded as an invasion of one's privacy when installed thoughtlessly in maids' bedrooms or bathrooms.

Maids may also feel offended if they feel that their employers are spying on them.

Mistrust and hostility may result, as constant monitoring puts the maid ill at ease.

The number of runaway maids may even increase.

Therefore, it is essential to understand the rationale behind installing a CCTV camera, and the appropriate locationto install one.

Employers must also ensure that the footage is not distributed to unauthorised personnel or made public just to shame the maids.

The law must be tough on any abuse of the use of CCTV cameras and must protect those harmed by their misuse.

Employers must weigh the benefits and drawbacks to decide if it is the right method of protection.

Francis Cheng


This article was first published on November 3, 2015.
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