SINGAPORE - Can inward-facing recording devices in vehicles help protect commuters and drivers in inappropriate or violent incidents? Nine in 10 people here think so, according to findings from a survey released on Thursday (June 6).
Six in 10 said taxis, private hire cars and limousines should be allowed to have such in-car cameras. And of these, nine in 10 said the videos recorded should have sound, which could be useful for enforcement action to be taken.
The online survey, commissioned by national feedback and engagement unit Reach, polled 1,000 Singapore residents above the age of 15 in March to gauge public sentiment on the use of these devices in vehicles.
Taxis, private hire cars and limousines can be installed with the inward-facing cameras provided they meet the Land Transport Authority (LTA) guidelines governing their installation and use.
Since 2015, the National Taxi Association has been lobbying for the use of the cameras in taxis to tackle unruly passengers and fare evaders.
According to the Personal Data Protection Commission, passengers who do not want to be recorded, can choose to not use transport services that use these cameras.
Transport service companies and drivers must also abide by the Personal Data Protection Act and put in place adequate security measures to protect consumers' personal data, or risk fines of up to $1 million.
Senior Minister of State for Transport Janil Puthucheary said on Facebook on Thursday that LTA would be taking the poll results into consideration when reviewing regulations on inward-facing in-vehicle recording devices in the coming months.
"Vehicle owners must obtain LTA's approval to install (these devices), which can only be carried out at LTA-authorised installation centres," said Dr Puthucheary.
"Only authorised data controllers such as government agencies and operators will be allowed access to support investigations and enforcement efforts."
In-car cameras have been in the spotlight following several recent incidents.
In February, a heated exchange between a Gojek driver and his passenger was recorded by an in-car camera. The passenger claimed the driver was trying to kidnap her. LTA later issued a warning to the driver over the recording.
Then in March, a police report was made regarding in-vehicle videos taken of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's son, Mr Li Yipeng, who was offered a ride in a private car driven by a 31-year-old Singaporean man. Police said the videos were taken without Mr Li's knowledge or permission.
In April, Hong Kong singer Andy Hui was caught in a cheating scandal when recordings of him and actress Jacqueline Wong in a cab were sold to a newspaper. The controversy prompted Hong Kong residents to call for the authorities to regulate the use of digital cameras in taxis.