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LTA releases guidelines for inward-facing in-vehicle recording devices to safeguard privacy

LTA releases guidelines for inward-facing in-vehicle recording devices to safeguard privacy

In Singapore, the Land
Transport Authority
(LTA) has recently published
a set of installation guidelines for inward-facing in-vehicle recording devices
(IVRDs) in public service vehicles (PSVs) such as taxis and  private hire cars (PHCs).

Under the latest guidelines, PSV owners must obtain LTA’s
approval to install inward-facing IVRDs. Approved installations can only be
carried out at LTA-authorised installation centres. This is to ensure that the
inward-facing IVRDs are installed according to the manufacturer’s requirements
and LTA’s requirements, and to prevent the inward-facing IVRDs from being
tampered with.

The requirements regarding IVRD installations include:

(1)   
IVRDs must be installed in accordance to the
manufacturer’s specifications and in accordance with the further guidelines
stated below to ensure that IVRDs are installed safely.

(2)   
IVRDs must be secured in such a manner that
prevents any unauthorised access to and downloading of the stored data, such as
through locking the memory card slot and blocking the micro USB port).

(3)   
IVRDs must be installed in a fixed position and
cannot be rotated in order to prevent the capture of compromising visual
records of commuters.

(4)   
IVRDs must not have any audio recording function
so that the passengers’ conversations are not recorded.

(5)   
IVRD footage can only be retained for a maximum
of seven days i.e. must be deleted after seven days, to reduce the risk of
being misused. Drivers and passengers are encouraged to promptly lodge a report
of any incident that may require the use of the IVRD footage.

(6)   
All footage created by the IVRD must clearly
indicate a date and time stamp, as well as the PSV’s licence plate number to
facilitate investigations in the event of misuse of the footage.

(7)   
Installation centres must keep detailed records
of every vehicle installed with IVRDs and provide such records to LTA as and
when required by LTA.

Drivers who wish to use LTA approved installed inward-facing
IVRDs must obtain the written permission of the Registrar. Drivers will be
subjected to further stringent guidelines on the use of installed IVRDs.

PSV owners that have installed inward-facing IVRDs at
LTA-authorised installation centres will be required to affix a notice
notifying passengers of the inward-facing IVRD in the PSV. PSV owners will also
be required to carry out periodic checks to ensure that the inward-facing IVRDs
have not been tampered with, and must report any indication of tampering or
non-compliance with LTA’s guidelines to LTA immediately.

In addition, booking service operators must inform commuters
if a PSV installed with an inward-facing IVRD is being dispatched to them.

The guidelines will come into effect on 22 June 2018.

Restricted access to
the footage

Under the guidelines, there will be restricted access to the
footage recorded by inward-facing IVRDs.

Government agencies and LTA-authorised data controllers
will be allowed to access the footage to support investigations and
enforcement efforts e.g. cases of fare evasion by commuters, or alleged
offences by the driver.

The data controllers will be required to follow stringent
guidelines including requirements such as putting in place proper safeguards on
the storage and access to the footage and ensuring that only authorised
personnel have access to the footage.

Under the Road Traffic Act, LTA will impose the following
penalties to persons found liable for offences relating to the unauthorised
installation of inward-facing IVRDs and the unauthorised access of visual
records:

A fine up to $1,000, or imprisonment for a term not
exceeding 3 months or both upon conviction. In the case of a second or
subsequent offence, a fine up to $2,000, or imprisonment for a term not
exceeding 6 months or both upon conviction.

For taxi and PHC drivers, the penalty would be 21 demerit
points, which may lead to the revocation of the driver’s vocational licence
under the Chauffeured Private Hire Car and Taxi Driver’s Vocational Licence
Demerit Points System.

For drivers of private hire buses, excursion buses and
school buses, LTA may revoke their vocational licences.

Recent developments
in personal data protection in the transport industry

The LTA’s guidelines complement the Personal
Data Protection Commission’s (PDPC) Advisory Guidelines on in-vehicle
recordings
, which clarify the obligations under the Personal Data
Protection Act that operators and drivers of transport services for hire must
comply with when they use inward-facing IVRDs to capture individuals’ personal
data.

As reported
earlier
, under the latest advisory guidelines issued by PDPC, organisations
that use IVRDs to capture personal data are required to comply with provisions
under the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA). As such, organisations must
put in place the necessary policies and practices to meet these obligations.
For example, organisations that lease vehicles to drivers to provide transport
services for hire should also ensure that drivers, as data intermediaries, are
aware of and exercise proper data practices and security arrangements involving
the collection, use and disclosure of personal data captured by IVRDs.

Together, these guidelines serve to protect commuter safety
and their personal data, and prevent unauthorised access to the footage
recorded by inward-facing IVRDs.

The guidelines will come into effect on 22 June
2018.