Taxi companies in cities like New York and San Francisco have installed cameras in their cabs for the safety of their drivers, but the city of Oxford, England is taking it a step further. Citing increased complaints by taxi passengers and drivers that include overcharging and sexual assults, the city is proposing that all taxis be outfitted with CCTV systems that record video and audio by 2015. The recordings will run continuously and the encrypted footage will be stored for 28 days. It will remain unviewed unless an incident is reported by a taxi passenger or driver, after which relevant footage will be turned over to the police.
Unsurprisingly, civil liberties group Big Brother Watch — which has called the plan "a staggering invasion of privacy" — plans to file a complaint with the Information Commissioner's Office. The city council has responded to criticism by stating that privacy has to be balanced against the interests of public safety, adding that there will be clear notices informing passengers of the recordings. All newly licensed taxis will be required to install CCTVs beginning April 6th of next year, while already registered cabs have until April 2015. We wouldn't be surprised if the proposal is met with more resistance — not everyone wants to star in their own episode of Taxi Cab Confessions.
Thanks Fat Trucker!