Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) has issued guidelines to allow inward-facing in-vehicle recording devices (IVRDs) to make audio and video recordings.
Citing a recent government poll on public sentiment regarding in-car cameras in taxis, private hire cars, and limousines, the authority said having audiovisual recordings would make investigations into inappropriate or violent behavior more effective.
The poll revealed that 64% of the respondents were positive about having IVRDs in these vehicles. Among them, more than 90% said these cameras should be allowed to record both audio and video.
Prior to the revision of guidelines, these cameras were only allowed to make video recordings. This resulted in industry feedback that audio recordings should also be incorporated to ease investigations of disputes, according to The Straits Times.
Taxi operators, ride-hailing firms, and drivers who offer rides for payment—including some carpool services—must obtain permission from the LTA to install and use IVRDs. There are currently three authorized installation centers for the cameras.
Starting from July 15, drivers in cars equipped with IVRDs capable of making audiovisual recordings must inform the passengers of their presence.
China’s largest ride-hailing firm Didi has adopted a similar approach in its bid to ramp up safety measures following two murder cases last year. Didi has asked drivers to make audio recordings of each ride and is trying to persuade drivers and passengers to document the ride with in-car cameras.
Meanwhile, Singapore-headquartered ride-hailing firm Grab prohibits IVRDs unless the driver has prior approval from the LTA.
However, a Grab spokesperson told KrASIA that the company “[looks] forward to working closely with the authorities to implement the guidelines and communicate the changes to our driver-partners.”
“IVRDs are useful for both driver-partners and passengers in situations such as fare evasion and disputes, and the guidelines will help protect the privacy of passengers,” the spokesperson added.
The revised guideline resulted in objections concerning the infringement of privacy. Regarding this, the city-state’s Personal Data Protection Commission said people who do not want to be recorded can choose to use transport services that have not adopted these devices. Public buses do not fall within the purview of the revised guidelines.