Cabbies protest Big Brother CCTV Oxford scheme

I arrive at McCarran airport and join the line for taxis – the cabbie picks me up and I give my destination, the Golden Nugget in “Old” Las Vegas. We establish pretty soon that we both have Scottish origins, he says he used to work at the Nugget but now Las Vegas is too squeaky clean.

I ask him why. He tells me there are too many CCTVs in Las Vegas – they have them in cabs combined with face recognition software. I know this, because last time I was at CES some four years or so ago, they’d just installed them.

Fast forward and it’s Oxford, Engerland. The Oxford Mail splashes a story about a hundred cab drivers protesting at Oxford City Council’s plan to film people in the back of the cab. The toothless Information Commissioner is “reviewing” the plan and deciding whether it is lawful or not. The cabbies feel they can regulate their passengers well enough thank you very much Fascist Oxford City Council.

Customers are against the plans too, and you can see why, can’t you? What if an adulterous couple gets in the back of a car and canoodle away only to be faced with blackmail or worse when a Jobsworth looks over the footage. Or worse, what if the Jobsworth discovers that it is his wife canoodling with a stranger? It is a recipe for an Inspector Morse story.

Here’s a true story from the computer industry. This suit we knew said that his wife had divorced him. Why? He’d taken his bit of fluff to the Caribbean – I have to go to this boring conference, love – and they were in the swimming pool having a cocktail.

Fast forward two months. His missus goes into the local Thomas Cook and on the front of one of the brochures is a picture of her man with this woman, in the swimming pool, having a cocktail and apparently a whale of a time.

Like, Oxford City Council, why don’t you mind your own business? The biggest problem the local drivers have is with drunken students vomiting inside. And every fule knows that if some crazy terrorist is hell bent on putting himself into hell, they can’t really be stopped.

This is a small city. Here’s what the Oxford Mail has the Information Commissioner say: “I can’t tell you absolutely positively that it is going to go ahead.”