A cell phone integrated with camera is considered an unwelcome intrusion and triggers security concerns for the institution. In such a scenario, as we found out, banning camera phones seems to be the preferred option
Jitendra Tanna, Director, Rapidigm (India) Limited
To facilitate official communication and serve our customers to the optimum, we allow employees to use cell phones that may have speakerphone and conference facilities. However, as an official policy, we do not allow employees to use camera phones at any level of the company hierarchy.
As part of our value system, we do not infringe on the privacy of our employees and hence, there is no ban on the usage of cell phones. Our employees follow a strict code of conduct and any violation is severely dealt with.
At the same time, we are keeping a close tab on the usage of camera phones in the office premises. If stringent government laws related to camera phone usage are introduced we shall implement those too.
In fact, such policies would be specially welcome in places that are prone to high security risks such as airports, conference halls, and so on.
Anupam Arun, Country Head, Ventura India Pvt Ltd
Yes, Ventura has a ban on camera phones within its premises. It's not a blanket ban as it is restricted to the operations floor. This ban on camera phones is part of the company policy. In fact, the ban was in place ever since the business started. Moreover, when candidates are being recruited, they are informed about it.
We found a need to implement a ban on camera phones because it is essential in a BPO environment. This is an acceptable practice among many BPOs. This policy ensures that there is process and data confidentiality, which is a matter of concern to most of our customers. None of our customers have objected to this policy, hence I do not think we need to revoke or rethink about it.
As usage of camera phones is restricted on the operations floor, it is the responsibility of the team leader, floor manager and the IT team to ensure that no lapse occurs. Thankfully, till date, we've never had to deal with any problems of security related to camera phones. And I think it will be a good practice to be adopted by all IT and ITES organisations.
Mandar Marulkar, Chief Information Security Officer, KPIT Cummins
We do have a restriction on the usage of camera phones, but it's limited to our Offshore Development Centres (ODCs) only-mainly in the financial and voice services section.
Moreover, the same request also came in from our customers as they were concerned about the security of their data in view of employees carrying camera phones. In order to make them comfortable and ensure protection of data, we found it essential to impose such a ban. And employees extended their co-operation keeping in mind the sensitive nature of the work. While we had informed all employees about not using the camera phone at work, we made it compulsory only a few months ago. They were given a month's time to make alternative arrangements.
We inform employees about this ban during the induction programme and have even put up posters all over the office indicating the ban. Still, if some employees carry camera phones, they have to deposit the phones with the security and collect them while leaving. They can receive personal calls on the office phone. We have faith in our employees and expect them to follow the rules. In case of a violation, we shall deal with the individual as per our policies.
At the very least, it's necessary for organisations to have such a policy. A camera phone has much scope for misuse than just transferring data over the Internet. It is always better to take preventive measures.
Camera phones are banned on the operations floor, but are allowed in other areas of our company. Any person entering the operations area has to follow this rule. We have always banned camera phones on our work floors, and reinforced our stand in July 2005.
Susir Kumar,CEO, Intelenet Global Services
Even our employees responded co-operatively to this decision. Data security and client confidentiality have always been an intrinsic part of our policy. Banning camera phones is just one of the several procedures we follow to protect customer sensitive information.
Our employees have been inculcated with a high level of awareness on the subject of information security. When we implemented the ban, employees were given a three-week notice. We have nearly 80 CCTVs installed in key locations and several digital video recorders that constantly monitor and capture events. The ban was just another precaution to prevent the occurrence of data frauds and thefts.
Manju Nichani, Principal, K C College, Mumbai
At KC College, usage of camera phones and all other cell phones within classrooms, labs, seminars halls and library is prohibited. However, students can use the phones if they are in the canteen or once they step out of the college.
It was necessary to implement such a ban, because cell phones are a major cause of distraction. Students were found sending messages to each other even during lectures thus interrupting the entire class. Professors are also not allowed to use cell phones in restricted areas. Students come to the college to study and not to answer phone calls. In case of an emergency, their parents can always contact the college.
If any student is found using a cell phone in the restricted areas, it is confiscated by the authorities and returned only after a few days with a verbal warning. Classrooms are now more peaceful, and students and professors are no longer disturbed. I think all educational institutions should implement a ban on cell phones because it amounts to unnecessary disturbance in the study area."