Thursday, 8 January 2015

Are You Recording This Conversation?

Make the above question part of your New Year's Resolution. Judging by last year's events where we had Hon. Chikwanda, and Hon. Sichinga recorded, it would only be anticipated that more secret recordings are going to pop up in the near future. Early this year Hon. GBM's recording emerged. The strange part about the recordings that have surfaced is that they all involve politicians with someone who they know. A friend kind of person, who they can share their opinions with and hope that what the converse will not be broadcast to the whole nation. I guess they did not receive the memo. Now in 2015 we may be forced to start scrutinizing our friendships.


Hon. Chikwanda and Sichinga recordings were about the government and at that time the health of the late president Michael Sata. While for GMB it was about to his admission of pangas being found in one of his vehicles. For the general public receiving these secret recordings is wonderful because it is the few occasions we get to hear politicians speak the truth and share their honest opinions. The other side of me tells me that it is an absolute invasion of privacy. There are too many people who what to behave like Sherlock Holmes investigating the dirt on individuals and trying to create some scandal. The question that needs to be raised is how far is too far, and what shall we deem as acceptable. The fact that the politicians are unaware that they are being recorded means that the person recording did not get their consent. The questions are leading with the pure intention to get a response.

This is the point where I would require my lawyer friends to explain to me. Is it legal to go around recording secret conversations of people and joyfully distribute them to the nation. At this point I should mention that we should not mistake these recordings for investigative journalism. None of the people involved were journalists. I would have liked to also know what the motives behind the recordings were? Where people being used as pawns? Was someone getting paid? Where they being blackmailed to get the recording? I would really like to know.


Today it might be politicians, as long as it isn't me it may be fine, but what happens if when I become rich and famous (soon and very soon), a friend decides to release an incriminating recording he took ten years ago. The next question will be, who is to say that it should stop at voice recordings. The next thing we should brace ourselves is the emergence of videos. Imagine going to a hotel and the owner has video cameras in all the rooms, would we deem that acceptable. When we book a hotel room among the many things we expect one of them is privacy. The fact that these recordings where not gotten in public can't we not deem that invasion of privacy even though they are politicians?


At this point the best recommendation is to take stock of your friends. Who knows some of them might be recording your conversations and stocking them up for future use. My friends might just get shocked when all I start talking about is the weather, the dogs in the street, the cars passing by and nothing personal or my frustrated opinion. Before, I start any phone conversation the first things out of my mouth will be, "Are you recording this conversation?"



1 comment:

  1. Very valid points. especially in a country where data protection isn't taken very seriously, and most people wouldn't know it if it bit them on the arse