Southampton city council slapped down for recording taxi conversations

Southampton city council was humiliatingly slapped down today for forcing taxis to record their conversations with customers.

In a move which will be welcomed by privacy campaigners and watched closely by other local councils, the Information Commissioner's Office said the mandatory recordings breached the Data Protection Act.

"By requiring taxi operators to record all conversations and images while the vehicles are in use, Southampton city council have gone too far," information commissioner Christopher Graham said.

"We recognise the council's desire to ensure the safety of passengers and drivers but this has to be balanced against the degree of privacy that most people would reasonably expect in the back of a taxi cab.

"It is only right that the privacy of drivers and passengers is respected. This is particularly important as many drivers will use their vehicles outside work."

An enforcement notice has been issued to the council, who now have until November 1st to comply.