Oxford MailOrder to justify taxi CCTV plan (From Oxford Mail)

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Order to justify taxi CCTV plan

Oxford Mail: Taxi driver Khalil Ahmed Taxi driver Khalil Ahmed

OXFORD City Council has been told to justify its plan for recording conversations in taxis in a move that may take the controversial scheme closer to being ruled a breach of privacy.

The Information Commissioner’s Office has served a preliminary enforcement notice on the council over its plans to make all Hackney cabs and private hire taxis it licenses install a sound and video recording system.

The ICO says the compulsory scheme may not comply with the Data Protection Act and has asked the council to submit a written response proving otherwise.

If the commissioner’s office is not satisfied with the council’s response, it can issue an enforcement notice, demanding that the plan is scrapped.

Failure to comply is a criminal offence.

The council wants all new cabs to have the £460 cameras, with the existing 665 vehicles fitted by April 2015.

It has offered to pay £100 towards the cost of each recording system.

The council argues cameras will protect drivers from assaults and allegations by passengers.

It says footage would only be reviewed on request.

The watchdog contacted the council after the Oxford Mail reported on the proposals in November last year.

The ICO’s CCTV code of practice says: “CCTV must not be used to record conversations between members of the public, as this is highly intrusive.”

The scheme was due to start on April 1 but was put on hold by the council because of the watchdog’s intervention.

ICO spokesman Greg Jones said: “The notice relates to our concerns that the scheme may not be compliant with the requirements of the Data Protection Act.”

The Act’s principles include the demand that collection of information should be “not excessive”.

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The council has until early next month to respond.

Spokesman Annette Cunningham said: “As a public body, it is right that the council should reflect on the concerns expressed. The scheme has been suspended pending that reconsideration.”

Nick Pickles, director of privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch, said: “It’s time for the plan to be dropped.”

Private hire driver Khalil Ahmed – who collected 273 signatures on a petition against the plan – said: “It’s very positive news.

“We have always argued against the legality of it. It is futile and unnecessary and a waste of ratepayers’ money.”

Comments (12)

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11:18am Tue 24 Apr 12

ox-cabby says...

We will keep fighting and won't take everything lying down to this ever growing dictatorship of a regime at the council offices. I hope the voters take note of other issues as well and show it at the ballot box!

Ok, now make space for the ''taxi drivers got something to hide'' brigade!
We will keep fighting and won't take everything lying down to this ever growing dictatorship of a regime at the council offices. I hope the voters take note of other issues as well and show it at the ballot box! Ok, now make space for the ''taxi drivers got something to hide'' brigade! ox-cabby
  • Score: 0

12:44pm Tue 24 Apr 12

ColSilver says...

I saw a sign in a Reading car park that said audio as well as visual CCTV surveillance was being carried out. Does this mean that that will have to be reviewed, too? Does anybody have expert knowledge? I have a government petition about this subject: http://epetitions.di
rect.gov.uk/petition
s/31860
I saw a sign in a Reading car park that said audio as well as visual CCTV surveillance was being carried out. Does this mean that that will have to be reviewed, too? Does anybody have expert knowledge? I have a government petition about this subject: http://epetitions.di rect.gov.uk/petition s/31860 ColSilver
  • Score: 0

2:30pm Tue 24 Apr 12

Oxford taxpayer says...

ox-cabby: As a user of taxis I agree with you. Labour will not get my vote next month.
ox-cabby: As a user of taxis I agree with you. Labour will not get my vote next month. Oxford taxpayer
  • Score: 0

3:16pm Tue 24 Apr 12

Apu Nahasapeemapetilon says...

Oxford taxpayer wrote:
ox-cabby: As a user of taxis I agree with you. Labour will not get my vote next month.
Although they cannot vote, you will find that the Taxi driving Labour councillors are against it, Taxi Licensing are a law unto themselves, and not guided by party politics. Then we have the ludicrous statement that the council will pay £100 towards it, no they won't we will out of our licence fees that could go to providing a rank at Carfax and by Debenhams during the day as that is where people want taxis not 200 yards away in the middle of a 4 lane busy road.Now that buses have cut the number of services there is no reason that there is not room for ranks in these two places.
[quote][p][bold]Oxford taxpayer[/bold] wrote: ox-cabby: As a user of taxis I agree with you. Labour will not get my vote next month.[/p][/quote]Although they cannot vote, you will find that the Taxi driving Labour councillors are against it, Taxi Licensing are a law unto themselves, and not guided by party politics. Then we have the ludicrous statement that the council will pay £100 towards it, no they won't we will out of our licence fees that could go to providing a rank at Carfax and by Debenhams during the day as that is where people want taxis not 200 yards away in the middle of a 4 lane busy road.Now that buses have cut the number of services there is no reason that there is not room for ranks in these two places. Apu Nahasapeemapetilon
  • Score: 0

4:16pm Tue 24 Apr 12

John Lamb says...

I would like to see these cameras installed. They would make taxi journeys safer for all.
I would like to see these cameras installed. They would make taxi journeys safer for all. John Lamb
  • Score: 0

4:29pm Tue 24 Apr 12

Oxford taxpayer says...

Apu: Councillor Colin Cook wants them no doubt supported by other Labour councillors.
Apu: Councillor Colin Cook wants them no doubt supported by other Labour councillors. Oxford taxpayer
  • Score: 0

4:59pm Tue 24 Apr 12

Apu Nahasapeemapetilon says...

can't do too much detail as going to work for evening rush i hope. But John how does CCTV spying on my family make your journey safer if only when meter turned on maybe ok. John how many taxi journeys you take a week and how many problems you have in the past, this important because you know about my trade more than me if you tell us all how many problem for not having CCTV then we know if your comment true or you not like taxi driver. Oxford Taxpayer colin cook is in no way the speaker for Taxi driver who is councillor if you live in area for councillor taxi driver ask him, not Mr Cook he speaks only for himself.
can't do too much detail as going to work for evening rush i hope. But John how does CCTV spying on my family make your journey safer if only when meter turned on maybe ok. John how many taxi journeys you take a week and how many problems you have in the past, this important because you know about my trade more than me if you tell us all how many problem for not having CCTV then we know if your comment true or you not like taxi driver. Oxford Taxpayer colin cook is in no way the speaker for Taxi driver who is councillor if you live in area for councillor taxi driver ask him, not Mr Cook he speaks only for himself. Apu Nahasapeemapetilon
  • Score: 0

5:54pm Tue 24 Apr 12

Oxford taxpayer says...

Apu: My point is that a Labour councillor, Colin Cook, is in favour of the CCTV plan, that is why he will not get my vote. If other Labour councillors are against it they should speak out. The only politician who has spoken out AS FAR as I know is Nicola Blackwood. (CON) Andrew Smith has been very quiet on this subject?
Apu: My point is that a Labour councillor, Colin Cook, is in favour of the CCTV plan, that is why he will not get my vote. If other Labour councillors are against it they should speak out. The only politician who has spoken out AS FAR as I know is Nicola Blackwood. (CON) Andrew Smith has been very quiet on this subject? Oxford taxpayer
  • Score: 0

7:03pm Tue 24 Apr 12

ox-cabby says...

@oxford taxpayer

Exactly that!
@oxford taxpayer Exactly that! ox-cabby
  • Score: 0

7:38am Wed 25 Apr 12

davyboy says...

no one except authorised persons will EVER see what is recorded, and only then if there is a complaint. and i fully believe that taxi drivers do have something to hide if they don't want the system. i have seen private hire drivers stopping and picking up passengers who just hail them at the side of the road, and some of the standards of driving are so poor i wonder if they really have licences!!
no one except authorised persons will EVER see what is recorded, and only then if there is a complaint. and i fully believe that taxi drivers do have something to hide if they don't want the system. i have seen private hire drivers stopping and picking up passengers who just hail them at the side of the road, and some of the standards of driving are so poor i wonder if they really have licences!! davyboy
  • Score: 0

8:35pm Wed 25 Apr 12

John Lamb says...

Apu Nahasapeemapetilon wrote:
can't do too much detail as going to work for evening rush i hope. But John how does CCTV spying on my family make your journey safer if only when meter turned on maybe ok. John how many taxi journeys you take a week and how many problems you have in the past, this important because you know about my trade more than me if you tell us all how many problem for not having CCTV then we know if your comment true or you not like taxi driver. Oxford Taxpayer colin cook is in no way the speaker for Taxi driver who is councillor if you live in area for councillor taxi driver ask him, not Mr Cook he speaks only for himself.
I'll get back to you when your english improves.
Oh see, there's one example; when confusion with language barriers occurs.
[quote][p][bold]Apu Nahasapeemapetilon[/bold] wrote: can't do too much detail as going to work for evening rush i hope. But John how does CCTV spying on my family make your journey safer if only when meter turned on maybe ok. John how many taxi journeys you take a week and how many problems you have in the past, this important because you know about my trade more than me if you tell us all how many problem for not having CCTV then we know if your comment true or you not like taxi driver. Oxford Taxpayer colin cook is in no way the speaker for Taxi driver who is councillor if you live in area for councillor taxi driver ask him, not Mr Cook he speaks only for himself.[/p][/quote]I'll get back to you when your english improves. Oh see, there's one example; when confusion with language barriers occurs. John Lamb
  • Score: 0

5:11pm Wed 16 May 12

UKCabman says...

As soon as you license your vehicle as a private hire cab or hackney carriage taxi, your vehicle is no longer a private vehicle, it becomes public transport. Therefore when you take your family out in the vehicle you are travelling under the same conditions as a paying fare (albeit free). I don't quite understand what the problem is with having CCTV within the vehicle as it is proven that it reduces the number of possible offences by up to 95%. Whether it be assault, theft, runners, abuse-physical as well as verbal and also proving damage or vomiting by passengers. The cost of course is an issue but there are ways of recouperating the cost of outlay for these systems and the fact that Oxford City Council is contributing £100 towards it is a bonus. Also, by the time you add up the costs of the aforementioned possible damage, runners, assault or even worse, injury or even death (It does happen!) then the cost becomes insignificant. I prefer going to work each day knowing that i feel a lot safer that my back is covered by the cctv and that it tends to put off possible offenders. I have had two cab driver friends in the past month, robbed (if that wasn't bad enough) and one of them stabbed (just for good measure) so believe that being pro-active is much better and safer than being re-active! (My friends have now eventually recovered from their mental and physical injuries but the scars and painful memories of those incidents will stay with them. Needless to say they have now got cctv in their vehicles!). As Davyboy previously pointed out, unless an offence takes place, no-one actually views the images and when they are viewed, it's normally done by a licensed/registered data manager (normally your licensing officer or Police authority) and they have to follow strict data control regulations. so don't assume they just want to see you sat in your car picking your nose or whatever! and don't forget, it's not just there for your benefit, it's there to protect your passengers from rogue drivers!. If passengers feel safer then they will ultimately use taxis more frequently. The only sticking issue other than the cost of the CCTV is the recording of sound, which is what is primarily stopping Oxford Council from enforcing this licensing condition and why you have this current (temporary) stay. CCTV in taxis/cabs will be enforced, it's only a matter of time and if it gives this industry a better reputation then I, personally am all for it. As for the cost, myself and a large number of drivers are currently off-setting the outlayed cost of the system by displaying advertising on screens in the back of the vehicles (courtesy of AutoPC in Essex), (This is not a blatant plug, but if I can help them to help you then my work is done. You may like having this in your cab or you may not but my passengers seem to be happy enough with it! (If you speak to your taxi licensing officers nicely, they may let you too). So it's a no-brainer if you ask me! What the hell are you waiting for!
As soon as you license your vehicle as a private hire cab or hackney carriage taxi, your vehicle is no longer a private vehicle, it becomes public transport. Therefore when you take your family out in the vehicle you are travelling under the same conditions as a paying fare (albeit free). I don't quite understand what the problem is with having CCTV within the vehicle as it is proven that it reduces the number of possible offences by up to 95%. Whether it be assault, theft, runners, abuse-physical as well as verbal and also proving damage or vomiting by passengers. The cost of course is an issue but there are ways of recouperating the cost of outlay for these systems and the fact that Oxford City Council is contributing £100 towards it is a bonus. Also, by the time you add up the costs of the aforementioned possible damage, runners, assault or even worse, injury or even death (It does happen!) then the cost becomes insignificant. I prefer going to work each day knowing that i feel a lot safer that my back is covered by the cctv and that it tends to put off possible offenders. I have had two cab driver friends in the past month, robbed (if that wasn't bad enough) and one of them stabbed (just for good measure) so believe that being pro-active is much better and safer than being re-active! (My friends have now eventually recovered from their mental and physical injuries but the scars and painful memories of those incidents will stay with them. Needless to say they have now got cctv in their vehicles!). As Davyboy previously pointed out, unless an offence takes place, no-one actually views the images and when they are viewed, it's normally done by a licensed/registered data manager (normally your licensing officer or Police authority) and they have to follow strict data control regulations. so don't assume they just want to see you sat in your car picking your nose or whatever! and don't forget, it's not just there for your benefit, it's there to protect your passengers from rogue drivers!. If passengers feel safer then they will ultimately use taxis more frequently. The only sticking issue other than the cost of the CCTV is the recording of sound, which is what is primarily stopping Oxford Council from enforcing this licensing condition and why you have this current (temporary) stay. CCTV in taxis/cabs will be enforced, it's only a matter of time and if it gives this industry a better reputation then I, personally am all for it. As for the cost, myself and a large number of drivers are currently off-setting the outlayed cost of the system by displaying advertising on screens in the back of the vehicles (courtesy of AutoPC in Essex), (This is not a blatant plug, but if I can help them to help you then my work is done. You may like having this in your cab or you may not but my passengers seem to be happy enough with it! (If you speak to your taxi licensing officers nicely, they may let you too). So it's a no-brainer if you ask me! What the hell are you waiting for! UKCabman
  • Score: 0

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