Green light for cameras in taxis in Catalonia

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taxi Barcelona

The Catalan Data Protection Authority (Apdcat) has given the green light for the installation of cameras in taxis to combat aggression.

However, this is only permitted when recording is activated by the driver in dangerous situations. This confirms a recent opinion from the institution led by Meritxell Borràs.

Safety first

The Apdcat emphasises that the installation of recording devices in vehicles “could be legitimate on the basis of the legitimate interest” in preventing criminal behavior. “The unsafe situation in the taxi sector is well known,” the report states. The advisory body suggests that the data be kept for no longer than one month, but recommends daily deletion if no criminal activity has been identified. If that is the case, those images must be made available to the authorities within 72 hours.

Information obligation and privacy guarantee

At the same time, it is insisted that users be informed via an “information board” about data processing. In addition, a risk assessment and a data protection impact assessment (AIPD) are necessary.

The system is described as “respectful”. It would not systematically and continuously record images and sounds of passengers. However, it can be activated by the driver in an actually dangerous situation. This would be less intrusive on users’ privacy. Moreover, it would also preclude the use of the labour control system.

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Balance between security and privacy

The recording of voices is considered “particularly intrusive”. However, that would be justified to collect evidence in the case of physical or verbal aggression. The Apdcat emphasises that video surveillance can be legitimate, but this requires careful consideration of the facts.

In the case of taxis, it must be demonstrated that the aim is to tackle aggression and other criminal behaviour. The data collected may not be “excessive”. They must be limited to the specific purpose for which they are recorded.

The Apdcat concludes that “the legitimate interest could be a sufficient justification for the installation of video surveillance systems”. The organisation takes into account the known unsafe situation in the taxi sector. This offers a new avenue for protecting both drivers and passengers in the fight against aggression in the taxi industry.

Also read: Warning of possible privacy violation in Spanish football stadiums

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