On the back of the Bolton success myth, Chubb, the company whose CabWatch system had been used, touted their wares to Leicester and Cambridge City Councils who ran their own trials. As with Bolton, Chubb's system relayed sound and images to a remote video response centre. Over the next few years a string of UK councils began considering cameras as a condition of license for taxis and private hire vehicles.
I'm not against CCTV, I'm not against CCTV at all. I'm against the conditions that this council, Southampton Council Licensing Office has imposed on us. [...] The problem we've got in Southampton is that the CCTV operates in a way that it is on 24/7, you can never turn it off, the driver's got not control of it whatsoever, so every single passenger that gets in a licensed vehicle in Southampton - their conversation's being recorded no matter whether they've done anything wrong or not. [...] What about, the taxi drivers in Southampton, private hires and taxis, majority of those vehicles gets used privately as well. The drivers own those vehicles, [?], what happens when they're taking their children down to the beach with their wife on a weekend. Why should that conversation be getting recorded?
Radbone's February 1998 report states:
The cameras have been compulsory for two months. What's the evidence of effectiveness so far? The TIB [Taxi Industry Board] data base has recorded a drop in reported incidents but the numbers are too small to be statistically significant at this stage.
A November 2000 report by the Australian Institute of Criminology, entitled 'Preventing Assaults on Taxi Drivers in Australia'  states:
Solid state digital technology was chosen for Perth taxis where cameras have been mandatory since December 1997; these resulted in a 60 per cent reduction in attacks on drivers within a year after introduction (Pflaum 1999).
Note that the 60 percent reduction figure is cited as coming from one "Pflaum" in 1999. Upon closer investigation it transpires that Pflaum is a taxi driver in Germany who, in 1999, wrote an article  for a German Taxi Journal. In this article he gave no source or background to the 60 percent figure. Pflaum wrote:
In Perth, Australia, where camera surveillance was made mandatory for taxicabs, attacks against cab drivers and other major troubles were reduced by 60% one year after the introduction.
The TCSU shall include at least two internally mounted cameras and two externally mounted cameras.
The reason given by the Government of Western Australia Department of Transport  for the camera upgrades is that the cameras are "generally technologically outdated" and they state:
As a result, when a crime occurs inside or outside a taxi, these existing models often do not provide the evidence necessary to prosecute the offender. A new standard is urgently needed to help make the taxi industry a safe working environment for taxi drivers and a safe transport service for passengers.
One female driver told Taxi Today Monthly in 2009 :
I have always driven a London Taxi because I value the security and safety it provides. The central partition is crucial to the job as it provides both added peace of mind and protection.
('Safety first for female drivers', Taxi Today Monthly, January 2009)
Partitions can also be fitted to other vehicle types and are sometimes known as safety screens or safety shields.
A 1999 report 'The Effectiveness of Taxi Partitions: The Baltimore Case' , prepared for The Southeastern Transportation Center University of Tennessee Knoxville found:
Thus far it has been determined that shields in Baltimore taxis significantly reduce assaults on taxi drivers. Furthermore, shields are the primary reason for reduced assaults compared to other explanations such as reduced crime, drug arrests, and population.
The shield study looked at shield implementation in Baltimore from 1991 to 1997 and included a control study. Compare this study protocol to that of the Bolton camera study mentioned above.
Many studies report that in the United States and other countries there is a perception amongst drivers that safety partitions reduce tips by isolating the driver from the passenger and presenting a physical barrier to communication. In the UK however the partition has been viewed as a welcome addition by drivers and passengers alike. A 1970 Home Office report of the 'Departmental Committee on the London taxicab trade'  found:
A large proportion of fares appreciate the privacy from the driver and the fact that they cannot be inflicted with his unwanted conversation.
(p197, 'Report of the Departmental Committee on the London taxicab trade', Home Office, 1970)
Stone explained that in 1990 following the murder of a taxi driver, the Montreal Taxi Bureau formed a Round Table group which implemented a number of safety measures including: flashing rear emergency lights and priority for 911 taxi calls, driver training and driver reports of community emergencies, media coverage and rewards for identifying taxi driver assailants, spot police inspections of taxis and passengers, a training video on tips for taxi driver safety.
Stone told the conference that:
Between 1990 and 1995 as a result of Round Table efforts, the number of MUC [Montreal Urban Community] taxi robberies fell dramatically by 60% from 187 annual armed robberies to 76. Furthermore, relations between taxi drivers, the police, and the community improved.
A 2009 report of the Canadian 'Surveillance Camera Awareness Network (SCAN)'  looked at the introduction of cameras in taxis in Ottawa, Canada. The report states:
Cab camera companies are entrepreneurial and in addition to cameras must sell the very idea of surveillance. This may require making claims regarding the deterrent effect of cab cameras, as well as the value of the footage in prosecuting crimes.
(p7 'Camera Surveillance in Ottawa Taxicab', 'A Report on Camera Surveillance in Canada Part Two', 2009)
The SCAN report points out that independent studies that support camera companies claims are scarce, and that:
Our two reports for the Surveillance Camera Awareness Network demonstrate that cameras and other new surveillance measures tend to be implemented without appropriate consultation or adequate independent evaluation, which is demonstrated by the case of cab camera implementation in Ottawa.
(p93 'Conclusion', 'A Report on Camera Surveillance in Canada Part Two', 2009)
The OPC says it has serious concerns about the privacy implications of audio recording in taxis and plans to keep a watching brief on any moves by taxi organisations to introduce it. In addition the OPC asks that any taxi organisation planning to introduce audio recordings notify the Office of the plans so that it can monitor its use by the industry.
(Audio recording of passengers in taxis (Letter from the NZTA) - 30/6/2011)
In Canada the 2003/4 Annual Report  of the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) under "issues the OIPC has provided advice or comments on over the past year" states:
The Motor Carrier Commission's proposal to place digital videocameras in taxi cabs in the Lower Mainland (the Information and Privacy Commissioner stated that he did not support the proposal for privacy reasons)
On 16th November 2011 a statement from the Data Commissioner of Ireland was read on a talk radio show  which said they had concerns "about the proportionality and justification for installing CCTV cameras in taxis, taking account of the legitimate privacy expectations of vehicle users".
Perhaps the strongest response to taxi cameras has come from Nevada in the United States, where in 2004 the Nevada Taxi Cab Authority introduced a regulation requiring cameras in taxis. The Taxi Cab Authority were also considering the activation of the recording systems in the event of a G-force event (a G-force event is that which alters the vehicle's inertia to such a degree that a trigger is activated) .
When the American Civil Liberties Union opposed the regulation it was not adopted pending review. In October 2005 the Attorney General of Nevada issued an opinion  on the constitutional implications of recording images and sound using taxi cameras. The twelve page opinion explores whether taxi cameras that record sound and images are a breach of United States Fourth Amendment. The Attorney General concludes:
The adoption of revised regulations which limit any video and audio recording of the camera to (1) the entry and exit of the passenger, (2) activation, when the equipment is activated by a panic button, and (3) minimal recording in the event of a G-force event, would be a limited governmental intrusion which would likely be found by a court to not violate the passengers Fourth Amendment privacy rights.
In September 2006 a revised regulation  was adopted  that took into account the Attorney General's recommendations. The regulation still requires the compulsory introduction of taxi cameras but the camera is only activated as passengers get in or out of the taxi and when a panic button is activated by the driver. When the camera is activated, it can record still images or video and may record sound but not as a compulsory requirement.
In the UK campaign group Big Brother Watch has launched a complaint  with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) with regard to the Oxford taxi CCTV scheme. To date the ICO has not taken a strong stand on surveillance issues as the Data Protection Act that supposedly governs camera surveillance in the UK is riddled with exemptions when freedoms are removed for the stated purpose of "crime prevention", regardless of whether any evidence exists to prove the surveillance works.
The campaign group Justice in their recent report 'Freedom from Suspicion'  point out that it was an English Common Law principle, laid out in Lord Camden's speech in the 1705 judgment in Entick v Carrington, upholding the rights of property owners against unlawful searches by the executive that became the basis for the guarantees of the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution. The English Common Law still exists but alas no-one seems to remember it.
The use of this type of privacy-enhancing technology would thus allow for video surveillance to be conducted without the usual concerns associated with this type of surveillance. For the great majority of the surveillance footage, there would be absolutely no access or viewing of any personally identifiable information, and no unauthorized activities, such as viewing out of curiosity or "leering," would be possible. Therefore, this privacy-enhancing technology would enable both the use of video surveillance cameras and privacy to co-exist, side by side - without forfeiting one for the other: positive-sum, not zero-sum.
Data Protection expert Chris Pounder of Amberhawk Training  sums up privacy by design as follows:
Even though the process is protective of privacy one has arrived at a position that can be rewritten in a more familiar guise: "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear".
All around us the surveillance state is growing almost invisibly - unchecked by politicians and lawmakers who either want control or believe surveillance is universally loved, and driven by a surveillance industrial complex, ready to turn every social ill into a money making scheme. Almost every part of our society is tainted by an obsessive focus on crime and the security industry is all too willing to encourage the development of a crime-based economy.
Those that still cherish freedom must speak out. Just be careful what you say if you're in the back of a taxi.
- [ 1] - http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/9361537.Taxi_CCTV_breaks__rights_to_privacy_/
- [ 2] - http://www.securitypark.co.uk/security_article1846.html
- [ 3] - http://web.archive.org/web/20030421022405/http://www.chubb.co.uk/chserver/reques
- [ 4] - http://www.theboltonnews.co.uk/archive/2001/07/14/Lancashire+Archive/6019509.Taxi_
- [ 5] - http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2002-02-04.587.3#g588.0
- [ 6] - http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2007-07-24b.151058.h
- [ 7] - http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/8990482.Judge_backs_taxi_boss_in_dispute_over_
- [ 8] - http://www.southampton.gov.uk/Images/Taxi_Cameras_Appeal_SCC_statement_
- [ 9] - http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/politics/9005853.Drivers____demo_over_cab
-  - http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/b016ljx9
-  - http://www.taxi-library.org/ianb01.htm
-  - http://www.aic.gov.au/documents/0/5/B/%7B05B1599A-2511-4D07-9B29-73CD3E8D9FB2%7Dti179.pdf
-  - http://web.archive.org/web/20010210040244/http://www.ventiltaximagazin.com
-  - http://www.transport.wa.gov.au/mediaFiles/taxis_TCSU_standard2011.pdf
-  - http://www.transport.wa.gov.au/taxis_FAQ_TCSU_standard2011.pdf
-  - http://www.taxi-today.com/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=7TKQjc5Fwos%3D
-  - http://www.taxi-library.org/stone99.pdf
-  - Cmnd. 4483, Report of the Departmental Committee on the London taxicab trade, Home Office, 1970
-  - http://citycouncil.atlantaga.gov/2008/images/proposed/08O0398.pdf
-  - http://www.taxi-library.org/stone.htm
-  - http://www.sscqueens.org/sites/default/files/SCAN_Report_Phase2_Dec_18_2009.pdf
-  - http://nzta.govt.nz/commercial/passenger/docs/audio-recording-passengers-taxis-letter.pdf
-  - http://www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/rules/docs/operator-licensing-amendment-2010-2.pdf
-  - http://www.oipc.bc.ca/publications/annual_reports/Annualreport03-04(FINAL)%20(2).pdf
-  - http://media.newstalk.ie/listenback/221/wednesday/1/popup
-  - http://milestonesforlife.com/thetaxistand/CameraRegsAGO.pdf
-  - http://taxi.state.nv.us/CameraRegulation032405.pdf
-  - http://taxi.state.nv.us/Meetings/2006/Taxi-Minutes-2006-09-07.pdf
-  - http://www.bigbrotherwatch.org.uk/home/2011/11/big-brother-watching-listening.html
-  - http://www.justice.org.uk/resources.php/305/freedom-from-suspicion
-  - http://privacybydesign.ca/publications/pbd-the-book/
-  - http://amberhawk.typepad.com/amberhawk/2010/01/privacy-by-design-can-accelerate-the-decline-of-privacy.html
- Bron: http://www.no-cctv.org.uk/blog/taxi_cctv_and_the_continuing_decay_of_privacy.htm