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Is Naming and Shaming Jaywalkers an Invasion of Privacy?

Debate rages over whether police have the right to publicly display personal information of those caught for minor crimes

By Tan Yuzhi Updated Apr.13

Crossing the road Chinese-style mostly involves jaywalking - the roads are wide, and other vehicles also flout traffic laws - but even though pedestrians know jaywalking is illegal, most believe that because everyone does it, it is impossible to enforce the law. Few people are ever fined for the offense. BIUCX
But some cities, such as Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province, and the municpality of Chongqing, have started naming and shaming jaywalkers by displaying their information on screens in public places. Using technology like this is a useful measure to control jaywalkers and non-motor vehicles that break traffic regulations, said commentator Wang Qingfeng, writing for news portal South CN.com.

This is an innovative way to tackle the problem, Wang said, even though it reveals residents' personal information. The internal logic is that respect and trust are earned, and people do not deserve it naturally. As a result, one cannot take advantage of public goods and want absolute personal privacy at the same time. This is impossible to achieve, Wang commented.

There is more awareness in Chinese society of the need for privacy protection, which is good for people. However, if waiving privacy to some extent can help improve safety and efficiency, it will be valuable in establishing an orderly and law-abiding traffic environment, Wang suggested.
However, others believe that exposing personal information as a means of punishment is extremely risky, and may even be illegal. Revealing information in this way infringes personal dignity and the right to privacy, wrote Li Liyan in the Beijing Times. Many other commentators, writing in different media outlets, agreed with Li that these law enforcement methods are a violation of the law and an invasion of privacy.