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ICO on CCTV in taxis

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ICO on CCTV in taxis 10th September 2018

The Information Commissioner’s office has recently published information on the lawfulness of CCTV in taxis.

According to the ICOs blog, it said that in its view continuous recording CCTV systems in taxis are almost always unlawful.  

It said: “…while there are many areas of concern around surveillance, one particular issue we are currently dealing with is the rise of CCTV cameras in taxis…But we have discovered that many of these CCTV systems are activated whenever a vehicle is running. They operate continuously, including when the taxi is being used privately by the driver.”

Elizabeth Denham, UK’s appointed Information Commissioner, continued: “The law states that the processing of personal data should be necessary for its purpose and proportionate. So where a taxi is being used by a driver for their own private or domestic purpose, continuous recording is likely to be unlawful, unfair and excessive under data protection legislation and in breach of Article 8 of the Human Rights Act 1998.”

Interestingly, Ms Denham also said that councils are data processors (not licence holders) in cases where CCTV in taxis are a mandatory requirement; “In most circumstances a council which instructs systems to be installed should be responsible for the data. It’s the council which is the data controller, not an individual taxi driver. Councils need to make sure they understand this part of the law.”

In conclusion, the ICO made three recommendations to councils:

•    Start at the beginning – Councils need to go back to the start of your project and consider the problem you are seeking to address and whether a CCTV system would be a necessary, justified and effective solution.
•    Councils should conduct a Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA)
•    Councils should consult the ICOs Code of Practice for Surveillance Cameras and personal information

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