Taking a video of someone is not illegal, posting it online however may well be

In the world of social media, news, opinions, stories and gossip spread a mile a minute. Many feel entitled to comment and often times, the comments generate further comments which can be misinterpreted or taken out of context. Readers may be aware of a recent video that has gone viral in relation to a passenger on car service app Gojek. In that video, which was posted by the driver, a passenger is seen to accuse the driver of all manner of abuse ranging from kidnap to racism to cheating.

My personal view is that the passenger behaved unreasonably and escalated a situation which could have been calmly resolved. The driver probably videoed the saga because he wanted evidence to prove that there was no wrongdoing on his part. I suppose that is fair enough. We have car cameras installed as objective evidence in case of accidents or the like and having a video prevents a “he says she says” scenario. What the driver erred on is posting the video publicly on social media. This is an intrusion of the passenger’s privacy and clearly posted without her permission. While the driver may not have been aware of it, this could potentially have breached data protection laws if she can be clearly identified and the video was posted against her will. In other words, while filming her was not illegal, uploading the video without consent could potentially be.

I would therefore have to disagree with the view that the driver in question may be have exposed himself to criminal charges such as false imprisonment, wrongful arrest or unlawful restraint.  Taking someone to the police station is not tantamount to an arrest. It must also be made clear that the driver did not “lock” the passenger in the car. It is a safety feature that the car locked automatically. In accordance with the video, the driver was behaving rationally while the passenger was getting worked up. How someone can come to the conclusion that this is false imprisonment is beyond me. If that were the case, I can argue that if I were brought to the wrong place that the journey was part of an “unlawful restraint” instead of just a mistake that can happen to anyone with no real harm done? The writer in question does not in my view hold “an unpopular opinion”. Rather, he holds a misguided understanding of what constitutes false imprisonment.

If we were to use  offences such as “false imprisonment, wrongful arrest or unlawful restraint” so flagrantly, it trivialises the seriousness of the crimes altogether and makes a mockery of the penal code. The only thing the driver should perhaps not have done is to have published the video he had taken. This however boils down to education and how aware people are of the impact and consequences of their actions online.