Taipei City Councilor Vivian Huang was recently commenting on the absurdity of how surveillance cameras on Taipei’s streets are filming residences and broadcasting live footage of people’s private lives on the Internet, instead of being used to enforce traffic regulations. Huang asks whether the Taipei City Government is really spending hundreds of millions of New Taiwan dollars on surveillance cameras merely to monitor lawmakers and residents?
During a Taipei City Council question-and-answer session on Nov. 12, Huang remonstrated with Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin over the cameras, which she said should be used for monitoring traffic conditions, not residential buildings. She said that cameras were found being pointed directly at her office last week, and that it was not the first time it had happened.
In 2010, when a surveillance camera at the intersection of Chenggong Road and Wende Road in Neihu District was found pointed directly at her office located on the second floor, she notified the police and those in charge of managing the cameras immediately corrected the problem. The police told her that the manufacturers were at fault.
When Huang was browsing the Web site of the Traffic Control Center, under the Traffic Engineering Office, to find out more about the footage filmed by the surveillance camera that was pointed at her office, she discovered that cameras were also monitoring residences and that the footage was being broadcast online 24 hours a day — a serious violation of human rights, she says. Many of the cameras on the site were “temporarily unavailable,” which also exemplifies the acute incompetence of the city government, Huang says.
Hau said that a more effective method for managing the surveillance cameras will be established in the future, while Department of Transportation Commissioner Jason Lin says that the cameras were not intentionally pointed at residences. He says that the optic fibers embedded in the cameras had probably shorted the circuits, consequently disrupting the Traffic Control Center’s ability to control the cameras remotely and causing the cameras to face the wrong direction. All of the cameras were originally pointed directly at their respective intersections and all malfunctioning cameras have been sent for repairs, Lin says.
(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)