This is a really good example of how something, once unthinkable, becomes the exception, then less the exception, then accepted and finally, the rule.
For reasons best known to themselves, Southampton City Council think it’s okay to record your every movement and sound when in one of the cabs they run the protection racket for (i.e. licence).
The notional excuse is to protect drivers, but that can’t be the real reason. If you want to protect yourself as a driver, just buy a camera and have a sign in the cab declaring it’s there. If passengers don’t like it, they can get another cab. The council have no business here. Similarly the idea that it somehow protects passengers is equally redundant. If you want to record your cab journeys, do so. Just let the cabbie know what you are doing and if he doesn’t like it, no contract.
So what are they really up to? Well part of it must be the belief that this is a good thing. Some of ‘em actually believe the stuff they come out with and think it somehow couldn’t happen without the beneficent coercion of local government to compel it. Others are probably just nasty Stasi freaks who like more control and more surveillance. I wonder what happens to a day’s seemingly uneventful recording? Is it deleted, relayed somewhere, backed up? I just don’t know. My suspicion is that it maybe one of the latter choices because the alleged cost of £700 is quite a lot for videocam these days without some spicey features, even assuming inept government procurement, (although you can never quite rule out official stupidity).
It’s hard to believe this stuff could catch many criminals, how dumb would you have to be to talk in front of a witness let alone a camera? The council reckon it was evidential in a few attacks, but again, no need to involve the council or have them compel it as above.
Worst of all, the council like this idea but don’t like to be told they are wrong. So they are ignoring the information commissioner and are appealing at god-knows-what-cost to the council tax payers. One branch of government taking on another, in a third branch, namely the court system.
Can anyone think of a more futile waste of money?
Apropos nothing, has anyone seen that Clive Owen movie where he robs a bank, “Inside man” I think. Anyway at the start he flashes some kind of light which disables all the cameras, Sci-fi or Sci-fact and if the latter where can I get one for Southampton taxi trips?