Sun, Jul 29, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Parking surveillance plan won’t invade privacy: Hau

TAKEN FOR A RIDE?Despite Taipei City Mayor Hau Lung-bin’s protestations, some have suggested that the ticket system is a stealth tax on Taipei’s drivers

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday dismissed concerns about violation of privacy with the city government’s plan to clamp down on illegal street parking using surveillance cameras, insisting that the plan is aimed at helping maintain public order and the smooth flow of traffic in Taipei.

Hau and city officials discussed the rise in illegal street parking in Taipei City among other traffic issues during a meeting on Friday, as the city’s Department of Transportation said the city received more than 14,000 complaints last month about illegal parking.

The mayor suggested that the city government should consider setting up surveillance cameras at illegal parking hotspots to clamp down on the problem, as it would be impossible for traffic police to monitor the situation at the locations around the clock.

The proposal sparked concerns about the violation of individuals’ privacy and that the city government is finding another way to issue more traffic tickets as a form of covert taxation on Taipei City drivers.

Hau yesterday dismissed the concerns and said many countries, such as South Korea, are already using the method to deal with similar problems. The measure is not intended as a way to issue more traffic tickets, but to serve as a warning to drivers and make up for a lack of traffic police manpower.

“The installation of surveillance cameras aims to prevent drivers from parking illegally on the streets and to maintain smooth-flowing traffic. The cameras will be set up in public areas on major intersections, so there should not be any violation of people’s privacy,” he said yesterday in Taipei.

According to Dennis Huang (黃勢清), director of Taipei City’s Traffic Police Division, there are more than 13,000 surveillance cameras around the city that were installed for public security reasons.

City regulations state that surveillance cameras can only be used for public security reasons and for cameras to be used for other purposes the city government needs to present a proposal to Taipei City Council for approval, he said.

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