Community & Education Hong Kong

Privacy concerns after three Hong Kong universities install CCTV in dormitories

CCTV cameras have been installed in dormitory floors at Polytechnic University, Lingnan University, and Shue Yan University, sparking concerns over privacy.

The Polytechnic University says it uses the footage to combat violations of dormitory rules, according to In-Media.

cctv polytechnic university

A CCTV camera installed in Polytechnic University’s dormitory. Photo: In-Media.

The university has 80 rooms on each floor of its Hung Hom residence. A total of 17 cameras have been installed in hallways, with four cameras also installed in common areas.

One of the regulations at Hung Hom Halls states that residents may not “visit or stay in the room of an opposite sex resident or let an opposite sex visitor stay in the room between 00:00 and 07:00.”

One unnamed student at Polytechnic University told In-Media: “They may say that it is a security measure, but in reality it is surveillance.”

Hong Kong Shue Yan University

Hong Kong Shue Yan University. Photo: Wikicommons.

At Hong Kong Shue Yan University’s Communal Building, three CCTV cameras have been installed on each floor of its accommodation.

Jacky, leader of the Hong Kong Shue Yan University Hall Student Association, said that some of the cameras were able to record footage of residents’ rooms. He said that the university had told students not to open their doors for long periods of time, but that this would only relieve the problem temporarily.

“We tried to argue against installing CCTV cameras [years ago], but in the end it amounted to nothing,” Jacky said. He added that the residential students’ union rarely met with school management to discuss issues related to dormitory policy.

ling nam university cctv

A sign at Ling Nam University. Photo: In-Media.

At Lingnan University accommodation, more than five cameras are installed on each floor. While CCTV cameras have existed at Lingnan for nearly a decade, footage leaked last year prompted fresh objections.

Vice-president of External Affairs at Lingnan Hostel D Residential Students’ Union Jing-yi said that when the cameras were initially installed, students criticised school management for a failure to consult them. Although management subsequently allowed each dormitory to vote on whether it would continue to use the technology, Jing-yi said that the Hostel D residential supervisor had ultimately overruled the result of the student vote

Jing-yi said that the union would voice its opposition to the installation of cameras at Hostel D at the beginning of the new school year in September, as well as demand a new consultation meeting.

In 2013, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology proposed the installation of CCTV in the hallways of dormitories and near fire exits. However, the plan was scrapped after it received a backlash from students.

Privacy concerns after three Hong Kong universities install CCTV in dormitories