Home News Audio/video recordings inside taxis soon to be legalised in Singapore; Crime busting...

Audio/video recordings inside taxis soon to be legalised in Singapore; Crime busting or invasion of privacy?

The announcement was made on July 2 changing the previous set of guidelines stating that public service vehicles could record video but not audio, in order to prevent commuters’ conversations from being taped

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No more secrets?

Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) has issued the latest directive announcing that audio recording and inward-facing recording devices inside taxis and private-hire cars will soon be legal in Singapore.

The announcement was made on July 2 changing the previous set of guidelines stating that public service vehicles could record video but not audio, in order to prevent commuters’ conversations from being taped.

Such an amendment will take effect on July 15, 2019, with LTA justifying the directive as the government’s latest effort to aid investigations concerning inappropriate behaviour and disputes.

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“Audio recordings will now be allowed… in addition to video recordings,” the authority said.

“This makes the recordings more effective in supporting investigations into inappropriate or violent behaviour as well as fare-related disputes.”

In the new directive however, public buses are exempted from in-vehicle recording device.

“This is because buses are similar to public spaces and are shared by many passengers,” LTA explained.

Buses will still be subject to guidelines from the Personal Data Protection Commission. Existing requirements will still govern the use of these devices.

Law is silent

In Singapore, there is no expressed right of informational privacy, thus, a person has not committed any wrong doing merely because he unreasonably invades the personal privacy of another person. The Constitution of the Republic of Singapore remains silent on the existence of the right to privacy. Therefore, a victim of an invasion of informational privacy in Singapore does not have access to a direct remedy under the law.

Is this what the riding public really wants?

The latest REACH poll of 1,000 people has been cited as justification of the recent directive.

In the poll, it was revealed that nine out of 10 respondents think that these devices could help protect the interests of both commuters and drivers. Of those who agreed that such devices should be allowed in taxis and private-hire cars, nine in 10 likewise think that both audio and video recordings must be allowed.

In a news report made by Channel News Asia (CNA), there was no mention of consumer privacy.

Aid in crime busting or invasion of privacy?

While the directive is clearly an attempt to aid in the busting of criminals and individuals demonstrating inappropriate conduct, it is also an explicit manifestation of privacy invasion. Isn’t this just another version of the ‘fake news bill’? -/TISG

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