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Gov't bans storage of face images on thermal cameras over privacy concern

All News 16:38 November 05, 2020

SEOUL, Nov. 5 (Yonhap) -– Organizations using thermal imaging cameras to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are banned from storing face images under a new government rule to protect privacy, effective as of Thursday.

The Personal Information Protection Commission has set the new regulation after its recent inspection found thermal scanners in some offices in Seoul stored footage without the consent of people who were filmed, the government agency said.

Under the rule, saving and transmission functions must be turned off when thermal cameras are used. If such functions cannot be disabled, stored images and personal information must be deleted at least once a day.

If they inevitably have to store data, they must get consent from the people and take safety measures to prevent misuse.

"We hope the operators, makers and sellers of thermal imaging cameras will cooperate so that the devices can be used for their limited purpose of checking for fever in accordance with the new rule." Yoon Jong-in, chairman of the committee, said.

This May 19, 2020, photo shows a thermal imaging camera set up at a high school in the southwestern city of Gwangju. (Yonhap)


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