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    Oxford Times (UK): Taxi CCTV breaks ‘rights to privacy’

    The Oxford Times reports on controversy in a UK town concerning a proposal for audio recording with surveillance camera video in taxis:

    ALL conversations will be recorded in Oxford’s taxis by controversial new CCTV cameras, which critics last night claimed broke privacy rules. The plan for the city’s 662 taxis was last night branded an “absolute invasion of privacy”.

    But Oxford City Council said the video and audio scheme was vital to provide evidence of attacks on drivers and in cases where there were allegations of driver misconduct.

    Recordings would not be accessed unless requested by the police or council licensing officers for a specific crime or licensing issue, it said. […]

    Cabbies have been ordered by the council to have the £460 systems installed by March 2015 and two are currently in operation. All new taxis will need CCTV from April. […]

    The CCTV code of practice from the Information Commissioner – the UK’s data watchdog – says: “CCTV must not be used to record conversations between members of the public as this is highly intrusive.”

    It recommends audio is routinely switched off, with systems potentially triggered by excessive noise or a panic button over a specific threat in exceptional circumstances like if a crime is suspected. […]

    Oxford Bus Company confirmed all the CCTV systems on their buses record sound. […]

    Stagecoach confirmed last night that the Oxford Tube bus to London does have audio with its CCTV system but the rest of the fleet did not.

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