Oxford’s taxi drivers speak out against audio recording

Last year Big Brother Watch led the campaign against Oxford Councils‘ plan to force taxis to record audio as well as video for every journey made.

Since then, a court in Southampton has ruled the policy is unlawful and the council has been forced to consider exempting chauffeurs from the policy. But still it refuses to abandon this absurd plan.

Next week the campaign takes another step forward, and I’ll be speaking at an event on Wednesday organised by taxi drivers to renew our call for the policy to be abandoned. More than 100 of they city’s cabbies have now signed a petition against the policy.

When the policy was first proposed, it was (according to the council) supported by taxi drivers, and the policy was backed publicly by Alan Woodward, secretary of The City of Oxford Licensed Taxi Cab Association. However, since our intervention – which saw the policy receive international media coverage as far afield as Fox News and Russia Today – Mr Woodward has been forced to resign, and now the city’s taxi drivers are speaking out.

The policy remains a grossly disproportionate invasion of privacy and Big Brother Watch will continue to campaign until it is completely abandoned. If it is implemented, we stand ready to challenge it until every legal avenue is exhausted.



  1. securitynewsdesk
    19th March 2012

    Audio recording is a vital piece of evidence in taxi CCTV systems, providing extra information about what was said by whom to whom. In alleged cases of sexual assault, for instance, audio provides the missing evidence of who said what to whom.

    In Gravesend, they have a laudable taxi CCTV scheme which I have written about. In that scheme, the recordings are locked in a strongbox in the boot of the taxi and are accessible only to the police and the council’s taxi liaison officer. Images are only retrieved if there is an allegation of misconduct or criminal activity to be investigated which, as I understand it, meets the Information Commissioner’s guidelines for the use of video and audio recording.

    You can read more about the Gravesend scheme at http://www.securitynewsdesk.com

  2. terry
    28th July 2012

    And what about the unlicenced hire cars, which is (Apparantly) where most of the problems occur, how are they going to be checked.