While on a shopping trip with her husband to a FabIndia store in Goa, Union minister
spotted a CCTV camera positioned to look into the changing room. She alerted her husband, called BJP legislator Michael Lobo and got an FIR registered. The store has been sealed and four people arrested.
Last month, the manager of a Van Heusen store in Delhi was arrested for trying to make a video of an unsuspecting customer while she was in the trial room. He told police he had placed his mobile phone inside the room when he saw the girl walking in alone. The store was sealed.
How many times have you walked into the changing room of a fashion store and wondered if it is all safe? While in the gym or swimming pool, have you wondered if the mirror is two-way and if someone looking at you or, worse, filming you?
As these two incidents, and thousands like them which we have been hearing of with an eerie regularity, it is a good idea to be wary, very wary.
A hidden camera or a spy phone may be pointed at you in hotel rooms, bathrooms, malls, gyms, workplace and swimming pools or even in your home. Victims have been filmed without their knowledge and when they are vulnerable. This invasive and intimidating crime has had victims of all ages, and even genders.
The prime reason behind these spiraling cases of invasion of privacy is omnipresent technology. In this age of mobile phone cameras, CCTVs, constant social media updates, and those tiny, hard to spot surveillance devices which are available at laughably low prices, the sex pests are everywhere.
From aghast girlfriends and wives who found out that their compromising pictures – consensual or otherwise – had suddenly found their way online after a bad break-up or divorce, to an oblivious girl filmed by an unscrupulous peeping tom of a landlord to spycams filming you in that plush mall, women are mostly the ones at the receiving end.
Knee jerk drives, like the one launched by Delhi Police after the Van Heusen incident, where they announced they would patrol all malls and their washrooms, can go only so far.
It is by being more astute and more aware that women can stay safe. If established brands cannot promise you safety from peeping toms, it is a good idea to be more astute.
When inside the trial room, check the walls and the floor for any hidden devices. If there are any CCTVs, check which way they are pointed. Check those two-way mirrors. If it is a two-way mirror, you can see across if you shine light from your phone's torch.
And if you think anything is amiss, don't be afraid to raise an alarm.