Sound surveillance plan for all Oxford taxis

Nicholas Bohm nbohm at
Sun Nov 20 12:18:51 GMT 2011

On 20/11/2011 11:57, John Wilson wrote:
> On 19 November 2011 20:56, Clive D.W. Feather <clive at> wrote:
>> Charles Lindsey said:
>>>> "Despite being in clear breach of the guidance issued by the Information
>>>> Commissioners Office (ICO) and a gross invasion of privacy, Oxford Council
>>>> has decided to make it a condition for all licensed black cabs in the city
>>>> to record both audio and video.
>>> Sounds like a breach of RIPA even if of nothing else. If Plod wanted to
>>> make such a recording, he would have to get a warrant/whatever. But to
>>> record a private conversation is interception of communications according
>>> to RIPA, and prior consent of both parties is required, as we have often
>>> discussed here.
>> This isn't interception, since there's no communication within the meaning
>> of Part I (which requires a public telecommunication system, a private
>> telecommunication system - which must be connected to a public one - or a
>> public postal service).
> If I'm making a telephone call in the back of the cab isn't that a
> Part 1 interception?

I think that what takes it outside interception is that there is no
modification of a telecommunications system for the purpose of making
the call available to third parties.

All that is happening is eavesdropping that happens to pick up (one side
of) a phone call - that's "just" surveillance.  Done by a private party,
it isn't necessarily unlawful; though if it is made compulsory under
taxi licensing powers of a public authority, one must wonder.  The
imposition of the requirement as a condition of a licence is probably
ultra vires and void as being unlawful under the HRA and ART 8 of the
Convention.  What a pity this won't get the councillors an ASBO apiece.

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