Breach of Privacy: Delhi Housing Societies Allow Illegal Surveillance of Citizens

Telecom apparatus of a mobile phone company that is setting up its infrastructure without residents' approval in a group housing society building of Dwarka in Delhi.
Telecom apparatus of a mobile phone company that is setting up its infrastructure without residents’ approval in a group housing society building of Dwarka in Delhi.

The MC members of group housing societies – who are mostly corrupt, uneducated, and ignorant – are allowing telecom companies to set up their infrastructure in Society buildings without taking approvals from the residents.

By Rakesh Raman

While Delhi’s Cooperative Group Housing Societies (CGHS) are committing all sorts of crimes, now these societies are violating the privacy laws by collecting personal information of individuals using private applications.

Worse, it is learnt that the violations are being committed under the knowledge of Delhi Police. Information received by RMN News Service reveals that the Jt. Commissioner of Delhi Police (South-West District) has suggested a third-party security App for use in each Society.

The managing committee (MC) of DPS CGHS in Sector 4, Dwarka also claims that the CEO of the organization called “ALL IS WELL” was introduced by the police.

Now, the DPS CGHS MC members – who are already facing multiple government inquiries for corruption and other illegal activities – are demanding money from residents for using the said App.

The App used by the security guards at the Society gate collects the personal information such as private data and photographs of visitors including women.

This information of visitors is presumably sent to an external party which can misuse the information without informing the individuals. The whole operation is being conducted in a totally opaque manner.

It is believed that other group housing societies are also using the same or similar tools for secretly collecting personal information of individuals. Most believe that such an exercise in the name of security is a total farce because the thieves live under the garb of corrupt MC members in the Society buildings.

RMN News Service had sent a detailed email to Delhi Police on June 17, 2018 to take the police response on their decision to recommend such an App. However, the police did not respond.

RMN News Service had requested Delhi Police to answer the following questions:

  1. Did Delhi Police recommend “ALL IS WELL” and its security App to housing societies?
  2. If yes, on what basis this particular App was selected?
  3. While using this App, the security guards at DPS CGHS collect personal data of visitors (including their photographs). How is this data being stored and used?
  4. Why has Delhi Police allowed the collection of personal data of visitors by an external private company?
  5. If Delhi Police is not involved in this security App project, what action will Delhi Police take against DPS CGHS MC members who are claiming that Delhi Police has recommended this App?
  6. How will Delhi Police stop the use of such a third-party App which is collecting visitors’ private data unscrupulously?
  7. You may add any other relevant information from your side.

The MC members of any Society are not supposed to take any decision arbitrarily to allow a commercial company like “ALL IS WELL” to set up its infrastructure in the Society building. However, if they allow such access to an external company without taking explicit approval of all the Society members, it is a totally unlawful activity.

Moreover, the App is being imposed on visitors because they do not have any other option but to share their data with the App in order to enter the building.

Clean House Social Service

Today, millions of common residents in Delhi are victims of the terror unleashed by the corrupt managing committee (MC) members of different cooperative group housing societies.

In order to help the suffering residents raise their voice against the growing corruption and injustice in housing societies, I have been running a community-driven free online social service under the banner “Clean House”.

It works as an interface to inform the government departments and law-enforcement agencies in India and abroad about the cases of corruption and other irregularities happening in housing societies.

If you want “Clean House” to report about the corruption and illegal activities in your housing society, you may please contact me with relevant documents and details.

Click here to visit Clean House.

The housing societies, which are using this security App, are violating residents’ Right to Privacy which is a fundamental right and an intrinsic part of Article 21 of the Constitution that protects life and liberty of the citizens.

India has also passed a new privacy package that includes rules for companies and consumers. Among other conditions, the new rules require that any organization that processes personal information must obtain written consent from the data subjects / individuals before undertaking certain activities.

Research Report on Corruption in Group Housing Societies

Dark Streets: Research Report on Corruption in Delhi’s Housing Societies

The Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008 Section 43A deals with implementation of reasonable security practices for sensitive personal data or information and provides for the compensation of the person affected by wrongful loss or wrongful gain. Accordingly, the affected person can complain against the people who are collecting their personal information.

Moreover, Section 72A specifies imprisonment for a period up to three years and/or a fine up to Rs. 500,000 for a person who causes wrongful loss or wrongful gain by disclosing personal information of another person while providing services under the terms of lawful contract. Last year, a constitutional bench of the Supreme Court declared ‘Privacy’ as a fundamental right of citizens.

Then how are the MCs of housing societies breaking the explicitly stated privacy laws? And how is Delhi Government – including Registrar Cooperative Societies (RCS) and Delhi Police – allowing such an unlawful activity?

The MC members of group housing societies – who are mostly corrupt, uneducated, and ignorant – are also allowing big telecom companies (such as Airtel and Jio) to set up their infrastructure in Society buildings without taking approvals from the residents. The possibility of corruption in such underhand deals cannot be ruled out.

An explicit consent of each flat owner is required to allow access to such telecom companies because they pose a threat to the privacy of residents. With their networks in the Society buildings, they can steal the personal information of residents when they communicate with others over the digital channels.

Obviously, the ignorance and carelessness of authorities indicate that India has already become a politically unstable banana republic with rampant lawlessness, corruption, and exploitation of the ordinary citizens.

If Delhi Government did not take immediate steps to tame and punish the delinquent MCs of housing societies, it will become a case for international scrutiny for rights organizations that work for the protection of human rights at a global scale.

Then India will formally appear in the list of banana republics such as Botswana, Guatemala, Nigeria, Zambia, and Cuba. In that case, the possibility of international sanctions against India cannot be ruled out because of government’s failure to stop increasing lawlessness, crime, and corruption in the country’s capital.

By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of a humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society.

About Rakesh Raman

Rakesh Raman
Rakesh Raman

Rakesh Raman is a government’s national award-winning journalist and social activist. Besides working at senior editorial positions with India’s leading media companies, he had been writing an edit-page column for The Financial Express, a business newspaper of the Indian Express group.

Nowadays, for the past about 7 years, he has been running his own global news services on different subjects. He also has formed an environment-protection group called Green Group in Delhi. He has created a comprehensive online information service to educate the Indian voters for the upcoming Lok Sabha election scheduled to happen in 2019.

He is also running a community-driven free online social service under the banner “Clean House” to help the suffering residents of Delhi raise their voice against the growing corruption and injustice in group housing societies where millions of people live.

He has created a comprehensive research reportPoisonous Particles + Noise Nuisance = Death for Delhi” that highlights the perils of pollution.

He has formed a free Education and Career Counselling Center for deserving children at a poor J.J. Colony in Dwarka, New Delhi under his NGO – RMN Foundation.

Earlier, he had been associated with the United Nations (UN) through United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) as a digital media expert to help businesses use technology for brand marketing and business development.

Rakesh Raman
463, DPS Apts., Plot No. 16, Sector 4
Dwarka, Phase I, New Delhi 110 078, INDIA

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