JEDDAH – The Ministry of Commerce and Industry has announced a ban on all miniature and hidden camera devices used for the purposes of spying. In recent months, many complaints had been raised by individuals whose privacy was invaded due to these cameras.
Traders and commercial establishments have been sent a directive which prohibits the importation, purchase, and sale of these spying devices. The ban does not apply to cameras used for security purposes in public places or cameras used in stores to detect shoplifting. Such cameras can also be used in areas where the quality of services must be inspected, such as in restaurant kitchens to monitor proper hygiene practices by employees when handling and preparing foods.
The new directive calls for stricter inspection and confiscation of any devices caught in the possession of shops or individuals, according to a report in a local daily. Malicious people have used secret cameras to take inappropriate pictures of women and families and have used these pictures to defame and ruin the reputation of innocent women.
Spy cameras are so small that they can be hidden in almost anything and invade the privacy of unsuspecting women. A secret camera can be installed in calculators, watches, sunglasses, pens, clothes, and smoke detectors and transmit pictures and video and audio recordings to a recorder. Some of these devices also have an inbuilt technology of live transmission.
Distributors report that the sale of surveillance cameras of all types has soared in the past two years in the country. Parents claim that they feel more comfortable leaving their children alone in the home if they have security cameras outside gates of their home. — SG