The State Government is considering introducing compulsory audio recording in taxis across Queensland.

The draft proposal intends to improve passenger and driver safety, but is seen by some as an unnecessary invasion of privacy.

Lincoln Humphries reports.


Confidential taxi conversations may become a thing of the past.

Surveillance cameras were introduced to all taxis in 2006 but mandatory audio recording wasn’t included.

And the Government’s current plans to change this has been met with strong resistance.

Michael Cope, President QLD Council for Civil Liberties: “Now we’re just extending the system even further creating an even greater invasion of privacy and there is just no justification for it. It’s been sprung on the public, the privacy commissioner hasn’t been consulted, it’s just a debacle.”

The Opposition quick to criticise the Government’s handling of the proposal.

Scott Emerson, Shadow Transport Minister: “Well it doesn’t seem to have been publicised much at all, there’s a few people in the industry who know about it, but the fact the privacy commissioner didn’t know anything about this, the Government didn’t think it necessary to go and talk to the privacy commissioner.”

Access to the recordings will be limited to police and appropriate authorities.

Some members of the industry completely dismiss the privacy concerns as irrelevant.

Lee Sims, Cab Drivers Association Qld: “Look, this is just a matter of course. It’s going to have to happen anyway. The technology is there, we can use it. I don’t understand what people are upset about, it has nothing to do with privacy issues, there’s no way in the world it’s going to end up on Youtube.”

Under the State Government’s proposal, every passenger and every driver will be recorded once the meter starts, but cabbies already have the option to start recording if they feel an incident requires it.

John Rathbourne, Cab Driver: “We already have it there, if we feel in danger we can activate something that will record everything that goes on in the cab.”

Submissions to the proposal closed at the end of last month.

Lincoln Humphries, QUT News.