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Thread: Personal Data Protection Act - The Death of Street Photography?

  1. #1

    Default Personal Data Protection Act - The Death of Street Photography?

    When I was being told about this Act which will be enforced later this year/early next year, as a citizen, I was delighted. There's finally a law that protect our personal data that will be misused.

    However, as a photographer, I am more than worry. It seems like taking someone else's photo would equate to the collection of personal data. Even though the act enforced on commercial entity and on private ground, it can't help but to think it'll generally spell more trouble to photographers. And for Street Photography, it could just spell death.

    What are your thoughts on this?
    また再建しましょう~ ^_^

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulKami View Post
    When I was being told about this Act which will be enforced later this year/early next year, as a citizen, I was delighted. There's finally a law that protect our personal data that will be misused.

    However, as a photographer, I am more than worry. It seems like taking someone else's photo would equate to the collection of personal data. Even though the act enforced on commercial entity and on private ground, it can't help but to think it'll generally spell more trouble to photographers. And for Street Photography, it could just spell death.

    What are your thoughts on this?
    I think you are canvassing our opinions for a paper you need to write. ;-)

    There is no link between gathering of personal information like address, etc, and taking pictures in public places.

    Only a paranoid wacko would think that taking a picture in public falls under "personal data". There is NO LINK.
    Alpha

  3. #3
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Personal Data Protection Act - The Death of Street Photography?

    probably you are right if the person tattoo his NRIC number on his forehead, print his mobile contact, email and address on the T-shirt that his is wearing.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Personal Data Protection Act - The Death of Street Photography?

    street photography should not fall under the framework of PDPA, if it does, what about those areas that have CCTV, eg MRT stations, commercial buildings, etc? unless those are exceptions in the interest of public safety....
    "You will not be remembered for the gear you used, but by the photographs you created"

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    Default Re: Personal Data Protection Act - The Death of Street Photography?

    Quote Originally Posted by catchlights View Post
    probably you are right if the person tattoo his NRIC number on his forehead, print his mobile contact, email and address on the T-shirt that his is wearing.
    Hahaha, that's a good one but since he publically "announce" his personal datas than don't think he can claim/sue also
    I get paid more shooting part time ...... damn, I should find more time to shoot part time

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by catchlights View Post
    probably you are right if the person tattoo his NRIC number on his forehead, print his mobile contact, email and address on the T-shirt that his is wearing.
    Then the person might accuse you of taking his or her passport photo

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    Moderator rhino123's Avatar
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    Default Re: Personal Data Protection Act - The Death of Street Photography?

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulKami View Post
    When I was being told about this Act which will be enforced later this year/early next year, as a citizen, I was delighted. There's finally a law that protect our personal data that will be misused.

    However, as a photographer, I am more than worry. It seems like taking someone else's photo would equate to the collection of personal data. Even though the act enforced on commercial entity and on private ground, it can't help but to think it'll generally spell more trouble to photographers. And for Street Photography, it could just spell death.

    What are your thoughts on this?
    I don't understand... how to you link street photography to PDPA Act? PDPA art was an art passed to protect personal data from being misused which is a good thing... how does that ever relate to me (as a photography hobbyists) shooting in... say Orchard Road, when there are lots of strangers walking around and some happen to be in my photo?
    I am not a photographer, just someone who happened to have a couple of cameras.
    My lousy shots

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by rhino123 View Post

    I don't understand... how to you link street photography to PDPA Act? PDPA art was an art passed to protect personal data from being misused which is a good thing... how does that ever relate to me (as a photography hobbyists) shooting in... say Orchard Road, when there are lots of strangers walking around and some happen to be in my photo?
    Because he's paranoid and jumps to irrelevant conclusions, just like another infamous kpt politician we have here....
    Alpha

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    Moderator Octarine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Personal Data Protection Act - The Death of Street Photography?

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulKami View Post
    When I was being told about this Act which will be enforced later this year/early next year, as a citizen, I was delighted. There's finally a law that protect our personal data that will be misused.
    Then please make yourself familiar with the law first hand. Always better than to resort to FUD based on hearsay.
    Who needs a law that protects the misuse? I would prefer a law that helps to prosecute those who misuse personal data..
    EOS

  10. #10

    Default Re: Personal Data Protection Act - The Death of Street Photography?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rashkae View Post
    I think you are canvassing our opinions for a paper you need to write. ;-)

    There is no link between gathering of personal information like address, etc, and taking pictures in public places.

    Only a paranoid wacko would think that taking a picture in public falls under "personal data". There is NO LINK.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rashkae View Post
    Because he's paranoid and jumps to irrelevant conclusions, just like another infamous kpt politician we have here....
    Very interesting. Before you start accusing me of those acts that is not true (eg. 'canvassing our opinions for a paper I need to write'), please note that the idea of me posting this question here is similar to the thoughts I had when I heard about it during a conference for photographers in NTUC headquarters a few days earlier from my original post date (which seemed you were not there). All you did here, is merely putting words in my mouth, which I personally stated it is not true. Not that smart you are, aren't you?

    @ the rest: I'm not verse with laws of course. I'd love to have many other photographers (rather than lawyers) to express their thoughts on this. I don't think I'm in any part wrong here. I hope to have those who listened to that lawyer's word during that conference to clarify with the rest if I misunderstood his words about photography and how it related to PDPA.

    Last but not least, be it you're experienced photographers, professional photographers or what, please take your egocentric attitude off this post and this forum, unless one doesn't allow to discuss matters with others in this forum and that special rules are in place for such individuals to condemn other members from posting discussion threads.

    PS: note that I only happen to come across all these replies after checking out my past's post. A perfect bump here imo.
    Last edited by PaulKami; 25th July 2013 at 09:14 PM.
    また再建しましょう~ ^_^

  11. #11
    Senior Member edutilos-'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Personal Data Protection Act - The Death of Street Photography?

    Why don't you read the Act and decide for yourself... It wasn't that hard to Google..

    http://statutes.agc.gov.sg/aol/searc...ec=0;whole=yes

    I'm no lawyer, as a layman, I don't see anything from that could be construed to refer to photographs. There is restriction on collection of "personal data" in Sections 13 to 17 (yet to be commenced it sems, i.e. the law has been enacted but it has not taken effect) but the definition of "personal data" at the start is as follows:

    “personal data” means data, whether true or not, about an individual who can be identified —
    (a)from that data; or
    (b)from that data and other information to which the organisation has or is likely to have access;
    I quote from MCI's site, where Minister Yaacob mentions photography in public places explicitly:

    The Bill also permits the collection, use or disclosure of personal data without consent where the data is generally available to the public. This would include personal data that can be observed by reasonably expected means at a public location or event at which a person voluntarily appears. The intent is not to unduly limit activities performed in the public under reasonable situations, such as photography in public places.
    Second reading speech on the Personal Data Protection Bill 2012

    To me, it's pretty clear that there is no death for street photography, which begs the question - what was NTUC's exact spiel on the whole thing? What exactly did the lawyer say? You haven't really given much info, so it may be better to detail what you heard instead of being too alarmist here.
    Last edited by edutilos-; 25th July 2013 at 09:39 PM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member edutilos-'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Personal Data Protection Act - The Death of Street Photography?

    Anyways taking a closer look at the Act, I'm not exactly sure how it's catered for but looks to be Section 17:

    17.
    —(1) An organisation may collect personal data about an individual, without consent or from a source other than the individual, only in the circumstances and subject to any condition in the Second Schedule.
    (2) An organisation may use personal data about an individual, without the consent of the individual, only in the circumstances and subject to any condition in the Third Schedule.
    (3) An organisation may disclose personal data about an individual, without the consent of the individual, only in the circumstances and subject to any condition in the Fourth Schedule.[/b]
    Here's the Second Schedule mentioned in 17(1):

    An organisation may collect personal data about an individual without the consent of the individual or from a source other than the individual in any of the following circumstances:
    (a)the collection is necessary for any purpose that is clearly in the interest of the individual, if consent for its collection cannot be obtained in a timely way or the individual would not reasonably be expected to withhold consent;
    (b)the collection is necessary to respond to an emergency that threatens the life, health or safety of the individual or another individual;
    (c)the personal data is publicly available;
    Should be (c). From the earlier speech mentioned, it looks like the definition of "personal data" would include photographs.

    I suppose there may be grey areas such as paparazzi style photos where you are shooting INTO somebody's house. Otherwise I really can't think of any potential issues. In any case, I'm sure most of the street photographers in Singapore don't go around toting telephoto lenses and poking it into people's houses.. It seems a wee bit overboard.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Personal Data Protection Act - The Death of Street Photography?

    Hmm... makes alot of sense... Well, I guess there's no difference in the approach of street photography even if PDPA is implemented in the future? Certainly it'll start to pose problems for commercial photographers but that'll not deemed well when someone from the streets start to threaten photographers because of that...
    また再建しましょう~ ^_^

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    Senior Member edutilos-'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Personal Data Protection Act - The Death of Street Photography?

    I was talking to someone who attended something like what you're talking about and they said that it was mentioned that the trouble would not arise in public places - only in private functions. So potentially an issue for event photographers, wedding photographers, etc (e.g. you've been hired by person A but you want to take candid photographs of person B) but informing prior to taking the photograph for such a case should suffice.

    I believe the person giving the talk mentioned that if you are a working photographer, it may be worthwhile to have someone look at your contract. There are certain clauses that could prove troublesome, e.g. withdraw of consent for data collection can be given by individual at any point in time, and organizations cannot stop the individual from exercising that right, but in general I don't think there is a huge impact since I'm sure most people here will take down photographs to avoid trouble anyways.

    Cheers!

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    Senior Member edutilos-'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Personal Data Protection Act - The Death of Street Photography?

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulKami View Post
    Hmm... makes alot of sense... Well, I guess there's no difference in the approach of street photography even if PDPA is implemented in the future? Certainly it'll start to pose problems for commercial photographers but that'll not deemed well when someone from the streets start to threaten photographers because of that...
    That has always been an issue since time immemorial, so I highly doubt you'd see a paradigm shift just because the law got introduced and misinterpreted..

    People have always threatened street photographers, the unwritten law of the streets often speaks faster than the real law. If someone is waving his hand at you because he's not happy you took his photograph, I am doubtful that anyone would want to stand there and tell him that the Data Protection Act doesn't disallow you from taking his photograph. That'd be really asking for it. If he happens to cite it, you can just state calmly and patiently that your understanding is not the case and if he isn't happy he can always get the police to look into the matter. If he takes it further, you have to exercise your judgement and decide if the photograph is worth a clash, or he will give you physical trouble, etc etc.

    I don't see how the Act comes into the equation. I've had people telling me that taking their photograph was illegal even without the law anyways. Loads of people like to quote the law out of context, and even fewer bother to look into the details to understand it in greater detail. *shrug*
    Last edited by edutilos-; 25th July 2013 at 10:04 PM.

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    Senior Member denniskee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Personal Data Protection Act - The Death of Street Photography?

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulKami View Post
    When I was being told about this Act which will be enforced later this year/early next year, as a citizen, I was delighted. There's finally a law that protect our personal data that will be misused.

    However, as a photographer, I am more than worry. It seems like taking someone else's photo would equate to the collection of personal data. Even though the act enforced on commercial entity and on private ground, it can't help but to think it'll generally spell more trouble to photographers. And for Street Photography, it could just spell death.

    What are your thoughts on this?
    wah, like that media corp can forget about shooting outdoor.
    photography makes one sees things from all angles.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Personal Data Protection Act - The Death of Street Photography?

    Thanks again. I did remember something like that but my mind kinda drifted off halfway during that talk and couldn't remembered most of what he said. And yes, that's the event I'm talking about.

    Hope this info can be shared in the future if anyone encounter anything related to street photography and PDPA, and if anyone encounter something unpleasant related to it on the street.
    また再建しましょう~ ^_^

  18. #18

    Default Re: Personal Data Protection Act - The Death of Street Photography?

    With the recent PDPA (Personal Data Protection Act) coming into play next year, it makes photographer's job no less easier. I heard from some fellow photographers that we could be infringing the law when we post up photos of a client's event/wedding if the guests at the event decline to be featured in it afterwards.

    I actually called in the Personal Data Protection Commission SG hotline to clarify on it, the call personnel told me that as long it is a public space and the photos are taken using reasonably means, it is fine.

    But to safeguard myself, nowadays I added a clause - a model release and also requires my client to gently inform them of the presence of a photographer and they may be featured online. If their guests object to it, I will remove it immediately.

  19. #19

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    I just got shouted at by an old man on the bus claiming that i was taking photos on the bus and it was an illegal act.

    Furthermore he harassed the bus captain by grabbing his arm and tugging on it while he was driving and claimed that i took pictures of him and was harassing him.

    To be fair i was taking some candid shots, but none of the man. He appeared out of nowhere and started harassing us in mandarin. As i'm poor in mandarin, i could only listen and not converse with him.

    But the driver looked to be in a difficult position, and the old man refused to let up even after my apologies to him in broken mandarin.

    Afterwards, i realized that the old man could have been seeking attention. So if you encounter such elderly folk, don't be angry with them. They might just need the attention or an outlet to vent

  20. #20

    Default Re: Personal Data Protection Act - The Death of Street Photography?

    don't call it street photography, call it citizen journalism instead.
    you can buy better gear but you can't buy a better eye

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