Chennai

IIT-M students unhappy with CCTV cameras

According to some students and professors, there was much opposition to the CCTV idea last year itself, when it was first mooted —Photo: M. SRINATH  

Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M) has started installing closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras in its hostels and premises.

On Wednesday, they began with Sharavati Hostel. IIT-M officials have said the CCTV cameras will be installed in public spaces and the feed will be accessed by the security officer in his office.

The move has not gone down well with a group of students who have written to the authorities fearing invasion of privacy.

Sources said the students and hostel wardens were notified of the CCTV installation through a mail on Tuesday. Some of the cameras have come up right outside rooms in the hostel corridors.

According to Sivakumar Srinivasan, dean of students, the decision to install the cameras has been taken with the consent of hostel wardens and the student body general secretary.

“It is about security and not moral policing. We will post instructions on surveillance. The records will be with the security officers and used if necessary,” he said.

Director Bhaskar Ramamoorthi said the move is in the wake of repeated complaints of thefts.

“Students leave the doors to their rooms open and then complain bitterly of theft when their laptops and mobile phones go missing. We are installing a minimum number of cameras as of now,” he said.

However, a few students and professors, requesting anonymity, said there was much opposition to the CCTV idea when it was first mooted last year.

“When the CCTV issue came up at a meeting last year, a sizeable number of students opposed it, as they did not want constant monitoring of what they were doing in the hostels. The rooms are supposed to provide privacy, as a living quarter, after classes. But this time, the mail came suddenly and now, the cameras have been installed,” a source said.

At a meeting of the student body on Wednesday, a number of students voiced their opposition to installing the cameras.

IIT-M officials said further discussions will be held with students to reassure them there will be no infringement of their privacy.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2020 4:49:35 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/iitm-students-unhappy-with-cctv-cameras/article6810122.ece

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