Can UBER or taxi driver leak private video footage of passengers to media?

16th April 2019 – (Hong Kong) Hong Kong Transport Department has issued a new guideline for taxi drivers for CCTV installed in their vehicles today. According to the Department, only visual recordings are allowed and voice recordings are prohibited to prevent intrusion of Privacy.

Hong Kong paparazzi has a notorious reputation to go to great length to publish sizzling exposé just to entertain their readers while shaming the subject matters in the process. A 16 minute controversial video containing intimate footages of Hong Kong singer Andy Hui and actress Jacqueline Wong in an UBER ride has been leaked to Apple Daily yesterday. The news is shared all over social media today and netizens were disgusted as Andy Hui is married to the famous Hong Kong singer, Sammi Cheng while Jacqueline is the fiancee of TVB actor, Kenneth Ma. They originally planned to tie the knot this year.

Andy Hui and Jacqueline Wong were caught kissing and fondling each other in an UBER ride yesterday. Still video footage from Apple Daily.
Still video footage from Apple Daily.
Andy Hui and his wife, Sammi Cheng.
Andy Hui singing on stage with Jacqueline Wong.
Jacqueline Wong with her boyfriend/fiancee, Kenneth Ma

Andy Hui is expected to hold a press conference this evening at 7pm in a hotel in Causeway Bay to address the issue.

Nevertheless, the burning question is : Does the media have the right to publish a leaked video footage without their permission? The publisher potentially expose themselves to legal liability even if their portrayal is factually accurate. Art. 30 of the Basic Law provides that Hong Kong residents have a right to privacy of communications and that no person on any grounds shall infringe on that privacy. The freedom and privacy of communication of Hong Kong residents shall be protected by law.

Who leaked the video footage to Apple Daily? As the video seemingly recorded via CCTV installed in the UBER ride or taxi, we could safely deduce that it was the driver who leaked the video footage to Apple Daily.

A Hong Kong computer technician was jailed for eight-and-a-half months for stealing more than 1,000 sexually explicit photos of singer Edison Chen in 2006. Sze Ho-chun copied the pictures from Mr Chen’s laptop when the Canadian-born star brought it to computer shop Elite Multimedia for repairs 13 years ago.

Not only celebrities like Andy Hui and Jacqueline Wong have a right to privacy, normal citizens should share the same right as articulated under the Basic Law of Hong Kong. We hope that the law in this area should be tightened further by the Transport Department and the Government in the near future.