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Security firm apologises for posting ‘insensitive’ CCTV clip of Tanjong Pagar crash on Facebook

SINGAPORE — A security system company has apologised for uploading a full clip of the fatal Tanjong Pagar car crash on its Facebook page, and warned members of the public from sharing the video without its authorisation.

The stretch of road at Tanjong Pagar (pictured) where five people were killed after a car crash on Feb 13, 2021.
The stretch of road at Tanjong Pagar (pictured) where five people were killed after a car crash on Feb 13, 2021.
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  • E3N Security said that it had recently published two video clips of a traffic accident at Tanjong Pagar
  • The firm admitted that it had made an “administrative error" in not using an edited clip of the crash
  • It acknowledged that its mistake had caused unnecessary suffering for the victims’ families
  • The firm added that it is fully authorised to release the recordings on behalf of the owner of the premises from which the footage was taken

 

SINGAPORE — A security system company has apologised for uploading a full clip of the fatal Tanjong Pagar car crash on its Facebook page, and warned members of the public from sharing the video without its authorisation.

In a post on its Facebook page on Wednesday (Feb 17), E3N Security said that it had recently published two video clips of the accident, admitting that it had made an “administrative error in uploading the full clip instead of a shorter edited cut” of the crash. The company has since removed the clips.

The incident last Saturday morning, the second day of Chinese New Year, killed Jonathan Long and Eugene Yap, both 29, Elvin Tan Yong Hao, 28, Teo Qi Xiang, 26, and Gary Wong Hong Chieh, 29.

Long, who drove a white BMW, was believed to be speeding before the car crashed into a shophouse at 37 Tanjong Pagar Road and caught fire at about 5.40am.

His girlfriend, Ms Raybe Oh Siew Huey, 26, suffered severe burns to her body after trying to save them and is hospitalised.

In the video that has since circulated online, the BMW can be seen skidding on the road before it crashed into the shophouse. A short while later, Ms Oh appeared in the clip and ran towards the burning car. She emerged about 10 seconds later engulfed in flames as she walked to the opposite side of the road.

E3N Security said that its mistake had caused “unnecessary suffering for the victims’ families”.

“We would like to apologise for our mistake and acknowledge that it is insensitive to show the full clip of Ms Oh in distress and we would like to inform all others to refrain from sharing the full clip,” the company said.

It also said that the police have since requested and obtained a high-resolution copy of the video for investigations.

Besides the authorities, the company said that it had also sent a low-resolution video of the incident to The Straits Times. E3N Security stressed that it did not obtain any payment or benefits from releasing the clip to the newspaper.

E3N Security said that it is the “rightful owner” and is “fully authorised” to manage and release the closed-circuit television (CCTV) recordings on behalf of the owner of the premises from which the footage was taken. 

There have been video clips that have been watermarked with the company’s name circulating online, but the clips “were not by us”, it added.

“The screenshots of our Facebook page with the video clips show that our clips do not have any watermarking.

“We hereby request that any websites, social media pages or users who are currently sharing the videos without our consent and knowledge to delete the video clip that was downloaded from our Facebook page. We reserve the rights to take legal measures against anyone who has distributed the video without authorisation.” 

Social media users took to E3N Security’s Facebook page to criticise the company for uploading the videos to promote its CCTV cameras.

One Facebook user named Bryan Chow warned the public against using the company’s services because E3N Security “can share any video captured on your cameras to Facebook to promote their business as they see fit”.

Technology lawyer Bryan Tan, a partner at law firm Pinsent Masons, said that while the video footage of the crash belonged to the owner of the camera — E3N Security, which installed the device — several other issues have been brought to the fore, such as whether the footage extends to public areas and includes personal data.

Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Act restricts the collection, use and disclosure of such data. 

Mr Tan said that there are two relevant exceptions to the rule in this case: The collection and disclosure of personal data that is publicly available, and the disclosure of such data for investigations or at the request of law enforcement agencies. 

The latter exception, he added, was clearly established.

“The publicly available exception is also quite clear, because the images were in a public place and one would reasonably expect that they would fall within CCTV footage.

“In conclusion, the Personal Data Protection Act’s exception to publicly available personal data would allow the disclosure, subject to the notification (of the collection of footage) and reasonable safeguards,” he said.

Mr Tan added, however, that there is the moral or ethical question of whether the footage should be publicly distributed, even though the legal impediments were not present.

Related topics

Tanjong Pagar accident video social media E3N Security

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