CCTV in taxis – Edinburgh plans

Edinburgh taxi drivers are campaigning to be permitted to install CCTV in the back seats of their cabs. The Evening News gives a lot of space to the taxi drivers’ association and support form a number of city cab firms. The article does note serious reticence, even opposition from a couple of organisations but the wider dimension is sadly lacking.  It took me just a couple of minutes to search for aspects that ought to have been included in the article:

  • Oxford taxi drivers (in May 2013) opposed compulsory audio-visual recording within their cabs, BBC.
  • Southampton City Council are, in July 2012, required by the Information Commissioner to stop recording passengers’ conversations in the back of taxis.
  • Some insurance companies are said to be offering considerable discounts on premiums to taxi firms that install CCTV (pointing inside and outside the cab) – see FleetNews report.
  • GMB Union is reported (September 2013) to have written to Sheffield City Council in protest at plans for compulsory installation of CCTV in taxis – see BBC News.

Whilst it’s not yet clear to me  what the Edinburgh scheme would involve (are they envisaging always-on audio and video recording?) the taxi-cab industry is clearly divided and, as usual in surveillance matters, there are other vested interests in play. Quite what the Office of the Information Commissioner will have to say – given the ruling against Southampton – will be worth reading.

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