Constitutional lawyer upset with taxi cameras
Thu, 16 Jun 2011 6:33p.m.
By Emma Jolliff
Cameras being installed in Wellington Combined Taxis can record both video and audio.
The new legislation requiring taxis to install cameras by August specifies images must be stored securely and protected from unauthorised access. It makes no mention of audio.
Constitutional lawyer Mai Chen says it's outrageous audio recordings in cabs will be allowed.
“My first reaction was why? I can understand the video but why do you want to record audio for security purposes. It's so much more intrusive than video,” she says.
Human rights lawyer Michael Bott says the legislation fails to protect consumers.
“There's no warning to people that what they say may well be recorded, and perhaps potentially be used as evidence against them for something else or it may be used to embarrass them at a later stage. There's nothing to protect people at all,” he says.
But Transport Minister Steven Joyce denies there's any problem with the legislation.
“It's not an oversight, it was actually considered by officials at the time and they decided they wouldn't make it a requirement, they also wouldn't make it a requirement not to do it,” he says.
“There's no requirement that they get rid of it. All it says is that you must keep it for 168 hours,” Mrs Chen says.
Chen says there's always a concern recordings might be mis-used.
“In terms of the recording of all this information it can very expressly only be used for a particular purpose, that is security and complaints,” says Mr Joyce.
“What will probably happen is that people will boycott cabs that are taking audio recordings, I'm certainly going to,” Chen says.
The minister says there'll be penalties of up to $10,000 for anyone caught mis-using the recordings.
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17/06/2011 2:56:49 p.m.
Richard Mayson wrote:
Apart from the obvious issues of concern raised by Mai Chen, another lawyer with Privacy commissioner experience questioned with me the efficacy of the NZTA claims that the new law allows such recordings without clear notification/signage within the cab.
My understanding of common law is that any secret recordings of conversations sought to be used in court evidence, are either disallowed or viewed with distrust.And if the recordings are not for evidential purposes what then are they for?
Perhaps some questions need to be asked in Parliament on this, as Minister Joyce's answers are neither clear or adequate.Some comment from the Privacy Commissioner would be helpful and clear up public perceptions of Orwellian subterfuge.
16/06/2011 9:54:33 p.m.
Arthur Attrill wrote:
The NZTA have set the Minister of Transport to look like a complete idiot. The NZTA have lied to the Minister/s since 1989 that they have robust systems in place to ensure that all taxi companies comply with the law. Any twit could see that very few of them actually do. Most taxi companies do not provide any semblance of a 24 x 7 service (as required by law) Thousands of drivers do not hold the proper licence or legitimate employment contracts. There are literally hundreds of taxi drivers who collect full unemployment benefits, have never been registered for GST (as required by law, pay no ACC payments and no other taxes whatsoever. The NZTA knows this full well and says that they don't. They blame the likes of Steven Joyce for not giving them more and more powers such as this taxicam nonsence.
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