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City Council Ordered To Stop CCTV In Taxi Cabs 101

judgecorp writes "Southampton Council in the UK has been ordered to stop snooping on every taxi cab in the city. Privacy watchdog, the Information Commissioner's Office has said it is "disproportionate" to demand that every Southampton taxi has CCTV that constantly monitors driver and passengers, including recording all conversations."
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City Council Ordered To Stop CCTV In Taxi Cabs

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 26, 2012 @03:25AM (#40774099)
    Driving for 15 years in the uk and never pulled over, stopped or searched. As for no way to be stopped and searched ona bike, id imagine its exactly the same as in a car...do something wrong and you can be stopped...give them suspicions and they can search you.....being ona bike has nothing to do with it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 26, 2012 @03:32AM (#40774127)

    It's probably to do with an expectation of privacy.

    Outside you expect that you may be on camera. You probably still don't expect your conversations to be recorded.

    In an enclosed space (taxi) you expect a much greater degree of privacy. The cabbie might overhear a few things, but I'd be shocked to find out my conversations were being routinely recorded and stored.

  • by tftp ( 111690 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @03:50AM (#40774185) Homepage

    If you drive a car, at some point you're going to get pulled over. You're going to get a ticket of some sort with high probability.

    If you don't break the law you are not likely to be ever pulled over.

    In fact, I would say that a bike rider has more chances to interact with the police than a car driver. Roads are built for cars, whether you like it or not. A bicycle is not an equal on the road. Good, well trained riders are seldom a problem. But plenty don't bother to stop for the red light, for example, as long as in their opinion they can proceed. Bikes have to travel on the side of the road, where cars are parked, so you have more obstacles to steer around; at the same time car drivers, driving at 40 mph, are not that happy to see you appearing before them, pedaling at breakneck speed of 10 mph. A job of a bicycle rider is very dangerous, IMO, just because you are sufficiently different from the majority of traffic. If you want to become invisible you blend in. But you do the opposite.

    There's no real way to be stopped and searched on a bicycle.

    This is patently untrue. My local Sheriff's department regularly does stops of bicycles. Many criminals use bicycles too, they are quiet, portable and untraceable. If the police stops you and has a lawful cause to search you then you *will* be searched, and your blood taken, and whatever else your masters want from you.

    With cycling, there's no tax to pay. No fuel to pay for.

    You pay with your health, and with more food that you have to buy. Bicycles offer less protection to you from elements, other drivers, and from obstacles. Not everyone even benefits from heavy physical work (I do not, for example, for a good reason.)

    Often, it is faster than a car journey anyway.

    That could be true or false depending on where you live. Most cyclists would get a heart attack climbing up the hill where I live, even just once and without cargo. It would certainly take them far longer to get here than in a car. Same applies to freeways. But if you operate in a densely populated city then a bicycle is faster.

    Cycling is probably one of the only remaining modes of transport that is truly free in both senses of the word.

    I don't think so. There are no modes of transport that fit the definition of "free." Except perhaps drifing across the Atlantic on a reed raft. That would be free, I admit that much :-) But once you reach land you become a subject of the local government, and it usually has power to kill you with impunity - let alone to monitor your movements. Your choice of a vehicle does not matter.

  • by Shimbo ( 100005 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @04:24AM (#40774347)

    Though I wouldn't be keen on the council monitoring it all I would certainly keep CCTV in my cab if I were a taxi driver as a deterrent.

    I'm not sure where you got the idea the council was monitoring it all; that seems very unlikely to me. Also, the main part of the ICO ruling was that *audio* recording was a disproportionate breach of privacy.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 26, 2012 @04:49AM (#40774499)

    Assume first that there are clear warnings in the taxi of the existence of video and audio recording. Focus on the audio recording, which is what is being outlawed. Reasons audio recording is a good idea:

    1) Provides evidence/refutation of allegations of assault or verbal abuse by driver or passenger;
    2) Provides evidence/refutation of fare abuse by driver or dodging by passenger.

    Reasons it is a bad idea:

    3) Driver would prefer not to have his speech recorded;
    4) Passenger would prefer not to have his speech recorded.

    Now 3) is obviously important - someone who is unhappy with being able to talk while in his vehicle (e.g. chat to his friend while he's waiting for a fare) is facing unacceptable working conditions. But for those drivers who /are/ happy with the recording, there remains only 4) - the case where the driver wants speech recorded but the passenger doesn't want what he is saying in earshot of the driver to be recorded.

    It is already well-known that, under RIPA, a telephone conversation (or similar) may be recorded by one of the two parties without the other party knowing. This is logical: if one person can hear it, then one person has a memory of the conversation; and an accurate recollection is obviously better than a potentially faulty one. But there is a caveat: the recording cannot be released to a third party unless warning of the recording has been given.

    So what the passenger is saying is that he does not want the driver to have an accurate recollection of what he can hear within his car, even when the driver would like that recollection. You may argue that, on balance, the justifications 1) and 2) from the driver's view are insufficient in light of 4). I haven't yet seen a convincing argument, however. And it's certainly wrong to state, "I believe no normal person, with normal levels of intellect would believe it's a good idea". Indeed, your "only an idiot would believe otherwise!" groupthink is becoming endemic amongst the geek clique, making it harder for them to understand what appear to be an ever increasing set of disagreeable laws.

  • by IamTheRealMike ( 537420 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @07:57AM (#40775327)
    Perhaps because people are not "routinely tracked" across London. Most of those CCTV cameras are private, and as was demonstrated by the riots, often capture footage far too low quality to be used for tracking even if they were somehow linked into a kind of super-skynet.

"I will make no bargains with terrorist hardware." -- Peter da Silva