Privacy concerns raised over police’s announcement

Public urged to upload documents of domestic helps on HawkEye app as safety measure

An announcement over a public address system at the Gachibowli crossroads requesting people to upload on HawkEye app the documents, including Aadhaar details, of domestic helps as a part of safety measures raised concerns over privacy and consent.

The issue was brought to light on Wednesday by independent researcher Srinivas Kodali who, on Twitter, said that a recorded message was being played at traffic signals. He pointed out that while privacy remains an issue, data being uploaded on the police-run app is akin to crowd-sourcing information.

Speaking to The Hindu, Mr Kodali said that a large number of domestic helps are unaware of the concept of digital consent and privacy. He said that not informing them that their data is being uploaded could bring these domestic help under the ambit of surveillance.

“The employers are collecting this data and are sharing with a third party. This essentially puts every working person in the city into default surveillance and the assumption of “poor people will steal” is problematic. This is against their fundamental right to privacy and the police cannot collect this data without a law dealing with it,” he said and claimed that there is no criminal code procedure which provides for this exercise.

On the other hand, police maintain that the move is only for the safety of employers from unscrupulous elements. They pointed out that the Kokapet incident reported last month in which a family was allegedly drugged by a domestic help and robbed of valuables is one of the reasons why employers were being encouraged to upload details on the app.

“It is not only Aadhaar details. We are suggesting that any ID document be uploaded. This is only for the safety of residents as you know what happened in Kokapet. We always encourage employers to check the details of domestic helps. This is only a part of sensitisation. The data uploaded on the HawkEye app is absolutely safe and secure,” Madhapur Deputy Commissiner of Police A Venkateshwar Rao said.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 12:35:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/privacy-concerns-raised-over-polices-announcement/article30804119.ece

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