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    BBC News: Recordings in Southampton taxis ‘must be stopped’

    BBC News reports that the UK Information Commissioner’s Office has told (pdf) the Southampton City Council to stop using camera surveillance (closed circuit television, or CCTV) and audio recordings in the city’s taxis and other private vehicle services. In the letter to the Southampton  City Council, the ICO said, “The Commissioner is of the view that the data controller has contravened the First Data Protection Principle in that they are processing personal data unfairly and unlawfully.” The BBC reports:

    In 2009, Southampton City Council required all taxis and private hire vehicles to have CCTV and audio recordings in cabs. But the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has decided the policy breaches the Data Protection Act and said it was “disproportionate”.

    The council said it was disappointed and was taking legal advice. […]

    An ICO spokesman said: “By requiring taxi operators to record all conversations and images while the vehicles are in use, Southampton City Council have gone too far.

    “We recognise the council’s desire to ensure the safety of passengers and drivers but this has to be balanced against the degree of privacy that most people would reasonably expect in the back of a taxi cab. […]

    An enforcement notice has been issued to the council which has until 1 November to comply.

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