|Dubai Police has encouraged young ladies not to publish their pictures online, especially on Facebook.The Dubai police were concerned that females might fall preys to online predators who take advantage of girls’ online pictures. According to a February article in Gulf News, there had been defamation and blackmailing case last year, along with a rise in statistics that prompted the Dubai police to make the reccommendation of not posting pictures online.Dubai Police records showed 73 defamation and blackmailing cases related to online activities that were registered in 2010, a 17 percent increase than the previous year.”The most common cases involve young men who copy pictures of girls from their Facebook accounts and then use them to blackmail the girls for money,” said Captain Rashid Lootah, head of the Electronic Evidence unit at the Criminal Evidence and Criminology department.
So what does a statement like this made by Dubai Police mean to females in Dubai and more specifically to females at AUD?
A couple of female students were asked about their thoughts on the statement made by Dubai Police. Nora Ashmawi a Digital Production and Storytelling senior said, “since it is just a suggestion I think it is good because they are not being overpowering and still allowing the girls their freedom.”
Nora was quick to comment that if the suggestion would be enforced it would mean, “being too invasive of privacy. You [Dubai Police] want to govern everything we do? Even when it’s online, concerning our own lives? No thank you!”
Regardless of all the fear about the suggestion becoming a law, Nora said that if it is just a suggestion then, “in Facebook terms: I like!”
Digital Production and Storytelling senior, Jenny Shokry said that the Facebook security settings are not a concern for her because,
|“it doesn’t matter if I remove it, it doesn’t mean that it’s deleted from the system.” However, she said that girls should, “be smart about what they put online.”Jenny – who said she identifies herself as a feminist – believed that the Dubai Police suggestion would not materialize into a law. “Well, I don’t think that will happen, however it will be interesting to see how that law is going to be taken by our gender,” said Jenny.They say once it is online, it is forever floating in cyberspace. All of us have pictures of ourselves and our friends acting goofy or inappropriate, but we do not think about digitally allowing strangers to scrutinize our digital photo album. Before the digital age, photo albums were family treasures that were kept in special places. Nowadays, a photo album can be created and shared within minutes with our virtual family.Before Facebook, there were mobile phones with built-in cameras.
Mobile phones with cameras were a technological marvel but they were not short from causing trouble.
Last September, an estimated 500,000 BlackBerry users in the UAE were holding their breaths on a possible cancellation of the addictive BlackBerry Messenger application due to security concerns.
Dubai’s police chief, Lt. Gen. Dahi Khalfan Tamim, told Khaleej Times in a September 2009 article, the proposed BlackBerry curbs were also, “meant to control false rumors and defamation of public figures due to the absence of surveillance.”
For now it seems Dubai Police are only cautioning females about the dangers of posting their pictures online. All that can be done is to exercise caution before posting a picture of yourselves, girls.
At the end of the day, Dubai Police have only given a suggestion that, as Jenny puts it, is a “take it or leave it” thing.
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