Taking the battle for privacy to Oxford Town Hall

Yesterday I headed to meeting in Oxford to discuss the proposed audio/video CCTV in taxis. More than 250 drivers have now signed a petition against the scheme – totally undermining the council’s claim that this is a policy the drivers want.

Sadly the Council weren’t too keen on having me there so I was asked to leave – but before I did I made clear that this is a policy that is clearly in breach of the ICO’s CCTV Code of Practice, and that was open to legal challenge.

Under the policy, from April 1st every new taxi license issued will require the taxi to have both audio and video CCTV. Time is running out for the council to recognise this is a policy that is bad for privacy, bad for Oxford and quite possibly illegal.

I’ve now written to both local MPs asking them to join Big Brother Watch in calling for the policy to be abandoned, arguing it would be entirely wrong to implement the policy until the ICO’s investigation has concluded.

This policy is not only a huge intrusion on privacy, but sends a terrible message to the wider country and indeed the world about Oxford as a city. Do the council expect senior businessmen or visiting academics, let alone tourists and local people, to put up with their conversations in taxis being recorded?

The fight goes on – all the way to court, if we need to.