Should they have a right to ask for this?

I was watching an ad for the Dawn Lifestyle Expo – it sounded like an interesting and varied exhibition that I might have thought of attending but I have decided against it. Why? Because apparently although there is no entry fee, what they do ask is for you to hand over a copy of your ID card, Driving license or Passport.

I really do not understand that at all. To ask for proof of your identity is one thing, but why should I be expected to hand over to the exhibition organisers a copy of my National ID card which contains my name, my residence address, my father’s name, my date and place of birth and my photograph.

This is a privacy issue. Why do they need this information? What will they do with it? How many people in the organization will have access to it? What security measures will be taken to ensure that this they do not pass on a copy of it to someone else? What will be done to prevent someone from misusing this information?

Entry to an exhibition is normally through an invitation, an entry ticket or paid registration or its free. No-one has ever asked for a copy of an ID card to be handed over. So why should Dawn? I object. And so should we all.

We have no privacy legislation in this country and so anyone who asks us for any kind of information – whether it be a government organization/department or a commercial one, we hand it over without a thought to what they will use this information for, how many people will have access to it and what they will do with it once they are done. The number of feedback forms we fill up on websites without checking out the Privacy Policy and without questioning the right of anyone to have access to our personal data, is totally unnerving.

Shouldn’t we be thinking about this, debating it, making sure that policies are enacted that protect our individual privacy?

About The Author

Jehan Ara

Jehan Ara is the President of the Pakistan Software Houses Association for IT & ITES (P@SHA)..She is a motivator, an entrepreneur, a social activist and a strong propagator of extending the power and use of Information and communication technologies beyond pure traditional business, to empower and enable communities. Her blog can be viewed here: In the line of Wire. She can be found on Twitter: @jehan_ara and contacted via email: jehanbolobhiorg

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