Nude awakening: Drama over 'CCTV camera' in Woolies change room

Retailer Woolworths has come under fire for seemingly having CCTV cameras in its change rooms at a KwaZulu-Natal shopping centre.

Last week, Woolworths shopper Sonal Madhoo posted a picture on Woolworths' Facebook page, saying: "Hey WOOLWORTHS, what's up with the cameras in the fitting rooms of your Pavilion Shopping Centre store? Are you usually in the business of invading the privacy of your customers?"

Hundreds of people commented on the post, with many saying they would not fit on clothes in the store's fitting rooms again.

According to IOL, Woolworths has said that the cameras are fixed and do not focus inside the cubicles.

Woolworths head of communications Kirsten Hewett told IOL that the cameras were fixed and only focused on the entrance of the fitting rooms in order to "review process".

"These cameras are installed in such a way that it is not possible to see into the cubicles," Hewett reportedly said.

Woolworths told TimesLIVE on Friday that it was standard practice for cameras to be positioned at the point of entry in their fitting rooms.

"These cameras are there to check that the correct service procedures are being followed," the company reportedly said in a statement.

"There is no visibility into the cubicles or even the passage between the cubicles," Woolworths said.

Sonal Madhoo's post on Facebook. 

In a response to a query by a client enquiring about CCTV cameras in their son's locker room at a Durban surf lifesaving club, Bregmans Moodley Attorneys said on its web page: "In certain locations, such as a public changing room, a person has a legitimate expectation of privacy. Whilst the lifesaving club has presumably installed the cameras to prevent theft, it is highly likely that the right of privacy outweighs the right of the club to conduct surveillance in a non-working environment.

"In my opinion, the use of CCTV in a change room would constitute a breach of the son's constitutional right to privacy.

"It is one thing to erect a sign, giving notice to shoppers that they are under CCTV surveillance. Being informed is a key aspect to avoiding allegations of invading privacy. It is an entirely different thing to give such notice in a change room. In that environment, users have a legitimate expectation of privacy."

Earlier this year, security at Woolworths stores in KwaZulu-Natal was beefed up after "incendiary devices" were found at the busy Gateway, Pavillion and Cornubia shopping malls, News24 reported.

In October, 19 people were arrested in connection with a fatal attack at a KwaZulu-Natal mosque and the placement of several explosive devices at various Durban shopping centres.

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