A disgraceful scheme to put CCTV with microphones into all of Oxford’s taxis has been put on hold over privacy fears. Oxford City Council has put it on hold while the Information Commissioner’s Office investigates if recording people’s conversations is a breach of privacy.
Oxford West and Abingdon MP Nicola Blackwood has also told the council she is unhappy with the scheme. She has also written to the Information Commissioner’s Office seeking an update on that investigation. Blackwood said:
It does seem the city council has crossed the line.
It is an invasion of privacy and undermining of civil liberties that neither passengers nor taxi drivers themselves have welcomed.
The ICO stated to me that recording conversations between passengers is highly intrusive and unlikely to be justified.
CCTV plays an important role in combating crime but that has to be balanced with privacy concerns and used within common sense limits.