Taking pictures in public can bring up privacy concern for some people Image Credit: Pexels

Ever wondered how many pictures you are accidently been a part of because you happened to be in the background? While that might be accidental, taking a picture of someone or recording a video or voice clip has become extremely easy. Gulf News readers discuss privacy in a public space in today’s age

Phones to blame

Being completely private is impossible today

On personal level, I appreciate my privacy and try my best not to share too much with the world. However, any hope of being completely private went out the window a decade ago, with the affluence of social media and targeted advertisements, today’s gold is metadata. I do not mind being filmed, recorded, or photographed. I am pretty comfortable with such things, as long as they are not done in a malicious manner. Breeching someone’s privacy in today’s environment is not that hard, mainly because the general public does not take the right steps into protecting themselves. It is completely impossible to ensure your complete privacy with everyone walking around pocketing a video and audio recording device that can be turned on at a moment’s notice. To that end I say live with it, or try going back to the pre-internet age. Either ways you still might be filmed without your knowledge. Good luck trying to balance your privacy concerns and public ventures.

From Mr Misbah Al Khadem

Electrical Engineer based in Dubai

Not a concern

Part of being in the age of social media

I do not have any concerns about privacy in public. I live in a very modern, diverse and multi-cultural country and I don’t believe this is a major concern in this part of the world. In other countries that are more conservative it might be a concern since people like to keep to themselves and keep their lives private. However over here, majority of the people are very active on social media platforms and love to take videos of where they go, what they eat, who they are with etc. So it’s unavoidable and no harm is actually being done to others when people take such videos. If people are okay with putting up pictures of themselves on social media then this shouldn’t be a problem either as long as they are not using it in a bad way. A good example would be if one of my friends was vlogging about their day and included me in the video, I would personally love it and be completely normal and act like myself.

From Ms Refqah Istaitiyeh

Account Executive based in Dubai


Inevitable part of the spread of technology

Privacy is an important right of any individual. However, it is becoming harder to maintain because of increasing monitoring of people due to security concerns and because people tend to post most of their personal information in social media. Moreover, you can involuntarily have your privacy exposed by being accidentally (or maybe not so accidentally) recorded or photographed by another person. While these actions can be excused because we cannot control our surroundings all of the time, it becomes problematic when someone becomes privy to the information they are not supposed to know. In this case, all depends on the personal ethics of the person and someone’s life might end up resting in the hands of a complete stranger. We can mitigate the risk by being aware of our surroundings and taking solace in the fact that so much personal information gets exposed that it falls through the cracks, but it is akin to damage control rather than long-term solution. However, I remain optimistic that we can resolve this issue and I would disagree that putting any restriction on technology could produce any meaningful results.

From Mr German Shein

Application Developer, Dubai

Poll results

Does the idea of accidentally being in the background of someone’s picture bother you?

Yes, it breaches my privacy: 40%

No, I don’t mind: 60%

Have your say?

Do you think breeching someone’s privacy in public has gotten easier?